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In an analysis of the possible mechanism and kinetics of a thermal decomposition reaction with the formation of a solid product, the following features were considered: the collective rearrangement character of the transformation; the formation of a product with a different non-equilibrium defectiveness and free energy; the free energy relationship in the series of processes leading to products with different dispersions; the formation of intermediate structures; and the spinodal character of their decomposition. Relationships are presented between the rate of solid product formation, the process temperature, and the surface area and size of the particles.

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Aspects of the theories that are conventionally and widely used for the kinetic analyses of thermal decompositions of solids, crystolysis reactions, are discussed critically. Particular emphasis is placed on shortcomings which arise because reaction models, originally developed for simple homogeneous reactions, have been extended, without adequate justification, to represent heterogeneous breakdowns of crystalline reactants. A further difficulty in the mechanistic interpretation of kinetic data obtained for solid-state reactions is that these rate measurements are often influenced by secondary controls. These include: (i) variations of reactant properties (particle sizes, reactant imperfections, nucleation and growth steps, etc.), (ii) the effects of reaction reversibility, of self-cooling, etc. and (iii) complex reaction mechanisms (concurrent and/or consecutive reactions, melting, etc.). A consequence of the contributions from these secondary rate controls is that the magnitudes of many reported kinetic parameters are empirical and results of chemical significance are not necessarily obtained by the most frequently used methods of rate data interpretation. Insights into the chemistry, controls and mechanisms of solid-state decompositions, in general, require more detailed and more extensive kinetic observations than are usually made. The value of complementary investigations, including microscopy, diffraction, etc., in interpreting measured rate data is also emphasized. Three different approaches to the formulation of theory generally applicable to crystolysis reactions are distinguished in the literature. These are: (i) acceptance that the concepts of homogeneous reaction kinetics are (approximately) applicable (assumed by many researchers), (ii) detailed examination of all experimentally accessible aspects of reaction chemistry, but with reduced emphasis on reaction kinetics (Boldyrev) and (iii) identification of rate control with a reactant vaporization step (L’vov). From the literature it appears that, while the foundations of the widely used model (i) remain unsatisfactory, the alternatives, (ii) and (iii), have not yet found favour. Currently, there appears to be no interest in, or discernible effort being directed towards, resolving this unsustainable situation in which three alternative theories remain available to account for the same phenomena. Surely, this is an unacceptable and unsustainable situation in a scientific discipline and requires urgent resolution?

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Theory of solid-state thermal decomposition reactions

Scientific stagnation or chemical catastrophe? An alternative approach appraised and advocated

Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Author: Andrew K. Galwey

future advance. Early theory (before 1938) L'vov has recently reviewed early (pre 1938) publications [ 2 , 3 ] on the heterogeneous catalytic and autocatalytic reactions which relate directly to solid decompositions. Two

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A simple and precise incremental isoconversional integral method based on Li-Tang (LT) method is proposed for kinetic analysis of solid thermal decomposition, in order to evaluate the activation energy as a function of conversion degree. The new method overcomes the limitation of LT method in which the calculated activation energy is influenced by the lower limit of integration. By applying the new method to kinetic analysis of both the simulated nonisothermal case and experimental case of strontium carbonate thermal decomposition, it is shown that the dependence of activation energy on conversion degree evaluated by the new method is consistent with those obtained by Friedman (FR) method and the modified Vyazovkin method. As the new method is free from approximating the temperature integral and not sensitive to the noise of the kinetic data, it is believed to be more convenient in nonisothermal kinetic analysis of solid decompositions.

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New solid complexes of a herbicide known as dicamba (3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) with Pb(II), Cd(II), Cu(II) and Hg(II) of the general formula M(dicamba)2·xH2O (M=metal, x=0-2) and Zn2(OH)(dicamba)3·2H2O have been prepared and studied. The complexes have different crystal structures. The carboxylate groups in the lead, cadmium and copper complexes are bidentate, chelating, symmetrical, in Hg(dicamba)2·2H2O - unidentate, and in the zinc salt - bidentate, bridging, symmetrical. The anhydrous compounds decompose in three stages, except for the lead salt whose decomposition proceeds in four stages. The main gaseous decomposition products are CO2, CH3OH, HCl and H2O. Trace amounts of compounds containing an aromatic ring were also detected. The final solid decomposition products are oxychlorides of metals and CuO.

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The thermal decomposition of synthetic serrabrancaite (MnPO4 · H2O) was studied in N2 atmosphere using TG-DTG-DTA. Thermal analysis results indicate that the decomposition occurs in two stages, which are assigned to the dehydration and the reduction processes and the final product is Mn2P2O7. X-ray powder diffraction, FT-IR and FT-Raman techniques were used for identification of the solid decomposition product. The decomposition kinetics analysis of MnPO4 · H2O was performed under non-isothermal condition through isoconversional methods of Flynn–Wall–Ozawa (FWO) and Kissinger–Akahira–Sunose (KAS). The dependences of activation energies on the extent of conversions are observed in the dehydration and the reduction reactions, which could be concluded the “multi-step” processes.

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The thermal decomposition of FeS2 and BaO2 mixtures (mol ratio from 2 to 8) was studied in oxygen containing gas medium using dynamic heating rate. The solid decomposition products have been investigated with X-ray power diffraction and Mssbauer spectrometer. The thermal process has two main stages. In the presence of BaO2 the mixtures have a lower initial temperature of iron sulfide burning. The same time by the increasing of BaO2 content in the mixtures the diffusion difficulties are withdrawn in higher temperature ranges. It is proved that as intermediates BaSO4, nonstoichiometric sulfide, barium ferrites and Fe2O3 are formed. The content of many solid phases in the final product is in relationship with the initial ratio of BaO2 and FeS2.

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This study reports experimental investigations by non-isothermal TG/DSC analysis of Zn(NO3)24H2O, Cu(NO3)24H2O and their mixtures of known compositions in the temperature range 30–1200C. Solid/liquid transitions in the sealed samples of the hexahydrate salts and their mixtures were also studied by DSC in the temperature range 0–60C. The mixture with composition 0.85Zn(NO3)26H2O+0.15Cu(NO3)26H2O showed single melting peak at 29C. This mixture was chosen for detailed studies. Melting temperature and heat of fusion of single salt hexahydrates and of the mixture were calculated from DSC endotherms. The different stages in the thermal decomposition processes have been established. The intermediate and the final solid products of the thermal decomposition were analyzed by XRD. The scheme and the decomposition temperature depended on the composition of the starting material. The final decomposition products were CuO (monoclinic), Cu2O (cubic), ZnO (hexagonal) and their mixtures with the defined crystalline structures. Possible influence of the addition of CuCl22H2O into the mixture 0.85Zn(NO3)26H2O+0.15Cu(NO3)26H2O and a gel combustion technique of the precursor preparation, on the composition and morphology of the solid decomposition products, were also studied. The gel combustion technique, using citric acid added to a mixture of 0.85Zn(NO3)26H2O+0.15Cu(NO3)26H2O, was applied in an attempt to obtain mixed Zn/Cu oxides of a particular mole ratio. The morphology of the solid decomposition products was examined by SEM.

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This is an overview of the early investigations into the mechanism of solid decompositions since the fundamental studies by Ostwald on catalysis during 1890–1902 and the first experimental study of the autocatalytic decomposition of Ag2O by Lewis in 1905. In order to explain the formation mechanism of the solid product, Volmer suggested in 1929 that the decomposition of Ag2O includes two sequential stages: first, a thermal decomposition of the oxide into gaseous silver atoms and oxygen molecules and second, the condensation of the supersaturated silver vapor. This revolutionary idea was immediately used by Schwab to explain the autocatalytic peculiarity of solid-state decomposition reactions. However, this mechanism did not receive the acceptance of the scientific community. On the contrary, as can be seen from the results presented at the conference “Chemical reactions involving solids” in Bristol in 1938, this model was dismissed as unrealistic and, as a result, was since forgotten. Instead, considerable attention at this conference was devoted to the disorder theory proposed earlier by Wagner and Schottky, and to the mechanism of ion transport in the solid crystals. During the subsequent 70 years, decomposition mechanisms have been interpreted, without visible progress, on the latter basis. The mechanism of congruent dissociative vaporization proposed independently in 1990 turned out to be in complete agreement with the Volmer–Schwab model. It has been treated with the same distrust. These historical events, in the author’s opinion, are responsible for the prolonged stagnation in the development of solid-state decomposition theory.

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