Characteristics of liquid product from the pyrolysis of waste plastic mixture at low and high temperatures: influence of lapse time of reaction

Kyong-Hwan Lee, Dae-Hyun Shin
Waste Management 2007, 27 (2): 168-76
Pyrolysis of a waste plastic mixture (high-density polyethylene: low-density polyethylene: polypropylene: polystyrene = 3:2:3:1) into a liquid product was carried out in a stirred semi-batch reactor at low (350 degrees C) and high (400 degrees C) temperatures. The effect of lapse time of reaction in the reactor and also degradation temperature on the characteristics of the liquid product from pyrolysis of the mixture was investigated. Liquid products were described by cumulative amount distribution, paraffin, olefin, naphthene and aromatic (PONA) distribution and molecular weight distribution. Their characteristic was quite differed with a lapse time of reaction and also at a low and high degradation temperatures, because of the different physicochemical properties of the plastic types in the mixture. With increase of lapse time of reaction, the order for the main products in PONA components obtained at 350 degrees C was firstly aromatic products and then olefin products, while at 400 degrees C the order was firstly aromatic products, then olefin products and finally paraffin products. The experiments also showed from the molecular weight distribution of liquid PONA components that the paraffin and olefin products had a wide distribution by mainly random scission of polymer, but in the case of olefin products were produced by an end-chain scission mechanism as well as random scission mechanism, as evidenced by much more light olefin products. This phenomenon was evident at a higher degradation temperature. Also, both the light olefin and naphthene products with a molecular weight of around 120, as a main product, showed a similar trend as a function of lapse time, which had a maximum fraction at 343 min (at 350 degrees C) and 83 min (at 400 degrees C). Among PONA components, the highest concentrations of aromatic products were obtained with a molecular weight of around 100 at the fastest lapse time of reaction, regardless of degradation temperature. It was concluded that the characteristics of liquid product on the pyrolysis of plastic mixtures were strongly influenced by lapse time of reaction and degradation temperature.

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