This investigation has been initiated to characterize the thermal decomposition of waste tires with Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) in various atmospheres ranging in oxygen content; 100% N2, 7%, 21% (air) and 30% O2. Chemical analysis focusing on light hydrocarbons, substituted aromatics, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon has been done qualitatively and quantitatively to understand the mechanism of thermal degradation of scrap tires and hazardous air pollutants such as PAH. The release of chemicals from scrap tires has been determined experimentally using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) coupled to TGA unit. The identities and absolute concentrations of over 50 major and minor species have been established. Significant volatile organic carbons (VOC) including substituted aromatics and PAH were observed between 300°C and 500°C. In addition, significant black carbon residual was observed in most environments except air and oxygen enhanced atmospheres and suggested not only the potential recovery of black carbon out of feedstock, but also the possibility of combined thermal treatment between combustion and gasification. These measurements supply information on the identities and levels of hazardous air pollutants, and provide useful new data for the development and validation of detailed reaction mechanisms describing their origin and fate. Finally, while high contents of VOC show significant potential to be utilized as an unconventional solid fuel, they also tend to generate hazardous pollutants.

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