Title page for ETD etd-11152012-182640

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Papole, Gedion John
Email papolegedion@yahoo.com
URN etd-11152012-182640
Document Title Characterization of medium temperature gasifier pitch
Degree MSc
Department Chemistry
Advisor Name Title
Prof W Focke Supervisor
  • pitches
  • gasifier pitch
  • petroleum pitches
  • coal tar pitches
Date 2012-09-07
Availability unrestricted
Pitches are important precursors for carbon materials. They are usually obtained by thermal treatment of petroleum and coal fractions. Pitches have higher carbon content and are capable of developing into graphitisable carbons upon heat treatment. Petroleum pitches are generally less aromatic than coal tar pitches.

Medium-temperature gasifier pitch (MTP), from Sasol’s Lurgi process, is a potential precursor for graphitisable carbon. MTP showed a high degree of solubility in several organic solvents, namely dimethylformamide, quinoline, tetrahydrofuran, pyridine, morpholine, benzene, toluene, xylene and acetone. It was virtually insoluble in n-hexane, cyclohexane, cyclohexanol, acetonitrile and formamide. MTP pitch was partially soluble in methanol and had a solubility limit of 40 g/l at ambient temperature.

MTP samples were spiked with boron to make 1000 ppm B-containing samples. The boron distribution coefficient was defined as the ratio of the boron contents of the insoluble pitch residue to the methanol-soluble pitch extracts, using a mass balance. This justified the decision to define the apparent boron partition coefficients based on the boron content of the recovered pitch residues. 4-(dibenzofuranyl) boronic acid (DBA), 2 phenoxyphenyl boronic acid (PBA), p-tolylboronic acid (TBA) and phenylboronic acid (PLA) were retained the most in the residues after methanol extraction. Over 500 ppm of PBA, TBA and PLA were retained in the pitch residues following methanol extraction.

The results showed that methanol extracted substituted boron acid model compounds. Methanol dissolved mostly low molecular mass/aliphatic species, which are not important for graphitisation.

The thermomechanical analysis (TMA) results showed that MTP has a low softening point compared with the methanol-insoluble (MI) fractions. The attenuated total reflectance (ATR) results showed that the benzene-insoluble (BI), toluene-insoluble (TI) and MI fractions had more intense aromatic C–H stretching peaks than their corresponding soluble fractions. Elemental analysis and the solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) results revealed that the benzene-, toluene- and methanol-insoluble fractions are more aromatic than their corresponding soluble fractions. The order of the aromaticity index for the insoluble fractions was as follows: MTP Matrix-assisted laser desorption (MALDI) analysis of the mass distribution revealed that the majority of compounds in MTP and its soluble and insoluble fractions were in the low molecular mass range, i.e. 190–388 atomic mass units. The thermal analysis results showed that the benzene-, toluene- and methanol-insoluble fractions were thermally stable and had higher carbon yields than their corresponding soluble fractions. MTP was thermally more stable than the methanol-, toluene- and benzene-soluble fractions.

Evaluation of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) showed that the methanol-insoluble fractions had lower PAH contents than MTP and MI.

Copyright © 2012, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Papole, GJ 2012, Characterization of medium temperature gasifier pitch, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11152012-182640 / >


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