Author: A. Galwey 1
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  • 1 5, Regents Wood Belfast Northern Ireland, UK BT9 5RW Malone Road
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This critical survey argues that the theory, conventionally used to interpret kinetic data measured for thermal reactions of initially solid reactants, is not always suitable for elucidating reaction chemistry and mechanisms or for identifying reactivity controls. Studies of solid-state decompositions published before the 1960s usually portrayed the reaction rate as determined by Arrhenius type models closely related to those formulated for homogeneous rate processes, though scientific justifications for these parallels remained incompletely established. Since the 1960s, when thermal analysis techniques were developed, studies of solid-state decompositions contributed to establishment of the new experimental techniques, but research interest became redirected towards increasing the capabilities of automated equipment to collect, to store and later to analyze rate changes for selected reactions. Subsequently, much less attention has been directed towards chemical features of the rate processes studied, which have included a range of reactants that is much more diverse than the simple solid-state reactions with which early thermokinetic studies were principally concerned. Moreover, the theory applied to these various reactants does not recognize the possible complexities of behaviour that may include mechanisms involving melting and/or concurrent/consecutive reactions, etc. The situation that has arisen following, and attributable to, the eclipse of solid-state decomposition studies by thermal analysis, is presented here and the consequences critically discussed in a historical context. It is concluded that methods currently used for kinetic and mechanistic investigations of all types of thermal reactions indiscriminately considered by the same, but inadequate theory, are unsatisfactory. Urgent and fundamental reappraisal of the theoretical foundations of thermokinetic chemical studies is now necessary and overdue. While there are important, but hitherto unrecognized, delusions in thermokinetic methods and theories, an alternative theoretical explanation that accounts for many physical and chemical features of crystolysis reactions has been proposed. However, this novel but general model for the thermal behaviour and properties of solids has similarly remained ignored by the thermoanalytical community. The objective of this article is to emphasize the now pressing necessity for an open debate between these unreconciled opinions of different groups of researchers. The ethos of science is that disagreement between rival theories can be resolved by experiment and/or discussion, which may also strengthen the foundations of the subject in the process. As pointed out below, during recent years there has been no movement towards attempting to resolve some fundamental differences of opinion in a field that lacks an adequate theory. This should be unacceptable to all concerned. Here some criticisms are made of specific features of the alternative reaction models available with the stated intention of provoking a debate that might lead to identification of the significant differences between the currently irreconciled views. This could, of course, attract the displeasure of both sides, who will probably criticise me severely. Because I intend to retire completely from this field soon, it does not matter to me if I am considered to be ‘wrong’, if it contributes to us all eventually agreeing to get the science ‘right’.

Manuscript Submission: HERE

  • Impact Factor (2019): 2.731
  • Scimago Journal Rank (2019): 0.415
  • SJR Hirsch-Index (2019): 87
  • SJR Quartile Score (2019): Q3 Condensed Matter Physics
  • SJR Quartile Score (2019): Q3 Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Impact Factor (2018): 2.471
  • Scimago Journal Rank (2018): 0.634
  • SJR Hirsch-Index (2018): 78
  • SJR Quartile Score (2018): Q2 Condensed Matter Physics
  • SJR Quartile Score (2018): Q2 Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Language English
Size A4
Year of
per Year
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Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1388-6150 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2926 (Online)