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Physical and thermal characterization of ground wood chip and ground wood pellet particles Rezaei, Hamid


The goal of the present study is to characterize the ground chip and ground pellet particles with respect to their size, shape, density, flow properties, drying and pyrolysis mass loss. Commercial wood pellets and pulp-quality wood chips are used in this study. These commercial samples are ground in the laboratory using a range of grinder screen sizes. The grinder power input is measured. The ground particles are examined for their size and shape. The ground particles are thermally treated in a micro TGA equipment and in a lab-scale thin-layer drying/pyrolysis equipment. The grinding results show that grinding a whole pellet to the desirable particle sizes for pyrolysis (~1 mm) takes around 1/7 of energy required to grind a whole wood chip to the same mean particle size. Pellet particles are denser, more spherical and shorter than the needle-shape chip particles. The spheroid shape of ground pellet particles lowers the compressibility of bulk, lowers the cohesion among the particles and facilitates their flowability. Higher density and random fiber orientation of the pellet particles prolong the duration of their drying significantly compared to the drying time of thin and long wood chip particles. Further moisture diffusion modeling shows that the moisture diffusion rate inside the pellet particles is half of those inside the chip particles. Although chip and pellet particles show the same level of shrinkage in size of a single particle due to drying, ground pellet particles exhibit a larger reduction in their bed porosity than the bed porosity measured for ground chip particles. Both chip and pellet particles reach their fiber saturation point at a moisture content of around 0.50 (dry basis). The pyrolysis kinetic parameters are determined experimentally and a two-zone kinetic mechanism is modeled and validated using the experimental thin-layer pyrolysis data.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International