429658 A Cellular Automaton Approach for Modeling Biomass Pyrolysis

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 2:10 PM
Salon G (Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek)
Michael Adenson, Chemical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN and Joseph J. Biernacki, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN

Lignocellulosic biomass is a chemically and morphologically heterogeneous material.  Furthermore, this heterogeneity is in-part responsible for the vast number of thermal decomposition products seen in pyrolysis events.  While modeling of biomass pyrolysis has been a subject of much research in past years, at the macro and microscopic scales, the majority of this work has focused on a range of continuum-based approaches.  While effective at capturing global outcomes, these approaches are less tractable as frameworks for capturing microstructural effects and upscaling molecular information.  This work demonstrates the use of cellular automata (CA) as an alternative platform for the modeling and simulation of biomass pyrolysis.  Efficient at capturing transport and chemical processes in highly heterogeneous system, CA is effective for modeling microstructural changes that occur as a result of chemical and physical transformations.  A number of benchmark trials demonstrated the convergence of the CA to global continuum outcomes.  Application of the CA to images of actual biomass show promise for this platform as an intermediate length-scale tool capable of predicting char morphologies that mimic experimental outcomes. 

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