(779b) Modeling Pyrolysis-Induced Microstructural Changes in Biomass: A Cellular Automata Approach
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 length-scales from the macro to molecular, the majority of these works have focused on a range of continuum-based approaches. Though 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 kinetic cellular automata (kCA) as an alternative platform for the modeling and simulation of biomass pyrolysis. Asides from being effective at capturing transport and chemical processes in highly heterogeneous system, kCA is capable of modeling microstructural changes that occur as a result of chemical and physical transformations. A number of earlier benchmark trials demonstrated the convergence of the kCA to global continuum outcomes. Application of the kCA to actual biomass microstructures show promise for this platform as an intermediate length-scale tool capable of predicting char morphologies that mimic experimental outcomes at meso-scale resolution.