Thermochemical properties of PM2.5 as indicator of combustion phase of fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yuch P. Hsieh; Glynnis C. Bugna; Kevin M. Robertson
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • combustion phase
  • Differential Diffusion
  • emission factor
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • MESTA - multi-element scanning thermal analysis
  • PM - particulate matter
  • PM2.5
  • thermochemical property
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 7, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 56293


Past studies suggest that certain properties of fire emitted particulate matter (PM) relate to the combustion phase (flaming, smoldering) of biomass burning, but to date there has been little consideration of such properties for use as combustion phase indicators. We studied the thermochemical properties of PM2.5 emitted from experimental and prescribed fires using multi-element scanning thermal analysis (MESTA). Resulting thermograms show that the carbon from PM2.5 generally can be grouped into three temperature categories: low (peak ~180 °C), medium (peak between 180-420 °C), and high (peak > 420 °C) temperature carbons. PM2.5 from smoldering phase combustion is composed of much more low-temperature carbon (fraction of total carbon = 0.342 ± 0.067, n = 9) than PM2.5 from the flaming phase (fraction of total carbon = 0.065 ± 0.018, n = 9). The fraction of low-temperature carbon of the PM2.5 correlates well with modified combustion efficiency (MCE; r2 = 0.76). Therefore, this MESTA thermogram method can potentially be used as a combustion phase indicator solely based on the property of PM2.5. Since the MESTA thermogram of PM2.5 can be determined independently of MCE, we have a second parameter to describe the combustion condition of a fire, which may refine our understanding of fire behavior and improve the accuracy of emission factor determinations. This PM2.5 indicator should be useful for discerning differential diffusion between PM2.5 and gases and providing insight into the impact of PM emission on atmospheric environment and the public health.

Online Link(s):
Hsieh, Yuch P.; Bugna, Glynnis C.; Robertson, Kevin M. 2018. Thermochemical properties of PM2.5 as indicator of combustion phase of fires. Atmosphere 9(6):230.