The heating of fuel particles is generally the first step in the process of gasification or combustion of solid fuels such as coal and biomass. The particle heating that is achieved via combined convection and radiation effects requires a rigorous analysis of heat transfer within as well as outside of the particle, which makes the lumped capacity approximation unsuitable. A more adequate representation of the heating-up process requires the inclusion of the internal convection within the solid particle, the blowing effects on the particle surface, the spatial and temporal variations of the solid thermal conductivity as well as the heat of pyrolysis reactions. The internal convection tends to equalize the temperature distribution within the solid, while the blowing effect contributes to the boundary layer thickening and eventually to a reduction in the convection heat transfer to the particle. To include the above-mentioned effects, a kinetic model for the total weight loss of the solid material was coupled with the heating model. A simple first-order reaction model for the total weight loss was utilized in this study. For materials with high moisture contents, the heat of pyrolysis reactions is an important factor in the heating rate and non-uniform heating of the solid particle. Thermal equilibrium between the solid and evolved gases was assumed within the particle and the equations for the conservation of mass and energy were solved numerically. Results show that surface blowing which is due to the devolatilization of the particle tends to reduce the convection heat transfer from the hot gases to the particle. Internal convection contributes to thermal uniformity in the particle. Heat of pyrolysis reactions plays an important role in the heating profile of the particle. It delays the temperature rise of the particle until most of the volatile materials is released.

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