Quantification of major components emitted from smoldering combustion of wood
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Lisa M. McKenzie; Wei Min Hao; Geoffrey N. Richards; Darold E. Ward
Publication Year: 1994

Cataloging Information

  • air quality
  • air toxics
  • biomass
  • biomass burning
  • carbon
  • char
  • chemical analysis
  • chemical compounds
  • CO - carbon monoxide
  • combustion
  • fire management
  • fuel management
  • gas chromatography
  • gases
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plant physiology
  • ponderosa pine
  • semi-volatile compounds
  • smoldering combustion
  • toxicity
  • volatilization
  • wildfires
  • wood
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 2, 2022
FRAMES Record Number: 44912
Tall Timbers Record Number: 20347
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The major condensible products (-45ºC) from smoldering combustion of ponderosa pine sapwood have been identified and quantified. Methylene chloride extracts of the condensate, as well as nonextracted condensate, were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MC). Non-condensed gases were analyzed by gas chromatography/flame ionization detector (GC/FID). About 83-93% of the carbon consumed in the fires has been accounted for. Variability in yields of compounds between individual fires ranged from 3 to 39% for most components, which indicates the fires and the analytical procedures are reproducible. The major products in the condensate (as percentage by weight of wood consumed) are acetic acid (3.44%), vinyl acetate (1.3%), pyruvic aldehyde (0.12%) and acetol (0.2%). Vinyl acetate does not appear to have been reported as a major component of wood smoke. The other major products are known components of wood smoke. The molar ratios of emitted condensible products to carbon monoxide have been calculated and may form a future basis for assessing the exposure of humans to these products in large-scale biomass fires. © 1994 Elesevier Science Ltd. Printed in Great Britian. All rights reserved.

McKenzie, L. M., W. M. Hao, G. N. Richards, and D. E. Ward. 1994. Quantification of major components emitted from smoldering combustion of wood. Atmospheric Environment, v. 28, no. 20, p. 3285-3292.