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Chemosphere. 2007 Sep;69(4):569-74. Epub 2007 Apr 25.

Evaluation of the thermal/optical reflectance method for discrimination between char- and soot-EC.

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SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710075, China.


Many optical, thermal and chemical methods exist for the measurement of elemental carbon (EC) but are unable or neglect to differentiate between the different forms of EC such as char- or soot-EC. The thermal/optical reflectance (TOR) method applies different temperatures for measuring EC and organic carbon (OC) contents through programmed, progressive heating in a controlled atmosphere, making available eight separate carbon fractions - four OC, one pyrolyzed organic carbon, and three EC. These fractions were defined by temperature protocol, oxidation atmosphere, and laser-light reflectance/transmittance. Stepwise thermal evolutional oxidation of the TOR method makes it possible to distinguish char- from soot-EC. In this study, different EC reference materials, including char and soot, were used for testing it. The thermograms of EC reference materials showed that activation energy is lower for char- than soot-EC. Low-temperature EC1 (550 degrees C in a 98% He/2% O2 atmosphere) is more abundant for char samples. Diesel and n-hexane soot samples exhibit similar EC2 (700 degrees C in a 98% He/2% O2 atmosphere) peaks, while carbon black samples peaks at both EC2 and EC3 (800 degrees C in a 98% He/2% O2 atmosphere). These results supported the use of the TOR method to discriminate between char- and soot-EC.

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