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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Thomas T. S. Huang

Committee Members

Jeffrey G. Wardeska, Ruifeng Liu


The decomposition mechanisms of various coal constituents undergoing pyrolysis are of great concern in environmental circles (especially those coal constituents containing nitrogen). Most methods of burning coal that are efficient involve doing so at high temperatures. This invariably results in a large portion of non-combusting coal being heated to high temperatures also causing pyrolysis of the original coal constituents. The end result of such pyrolysis is the production of a number of noxious gaseous products. If we are to design methods of reducing the amount of toxins that are produced from the industrial use of coal, it is necessary to understand the pyrolysis process mechanistically. Due to the great number of coal constituents, a reasonable approach to such a mechanistic study is to use a simpler model. Pyridine makes an excellent starting model upon which to build. Our study focuses on interpretation of proposed reaction channels from experimental work on pyridine, quinoline and isoquinoline shock-tube decomposition in light of new ab initio energy calculations using Gaussian 98. The pathways thus determined support the proposed pyrolysis mechanisms and agree with experimental evidence obtained from independent groups of researchers performing shock tube pyrolysis.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.