Black liquor is an intermediate product of pulp production. Recovery boilers process black liquor to recover the inorganic material for recycling in the mill and to generate electricity and steam for the paper mill. Black liquor droplet combustion rates and mechanisms dictate many aspects of recovery boiler performance. This investigation documents new experimental data on single droplet pyrolysis and combustion in a laboratory furnace that mimics many of the essential features of commercial boilers (temperature, composition, droplet size, etc.). These experiments monitored single droplets placed on a thermocouple wire and suspended from a mass balance. Simultaneous video images and pyrometry data provide mass loss and internal temperature data. These investigations provide an extensive data set from which to validate a model and insight into the mechanisms of combustion. Particles burning in air expelled ejecta from the particle during the entire combustion process, though ejection rates during the late stages of char combustion were observed to be higher than during other stages. In addition, char burning began almost the instant the particle entered the reactor; showing significant overlap in the combustion processes. A transient, 1-dimensional, single-droplet model describes droplet combustion. This model solves the momentum, energy, species continuity, and overall continuity equations using the control volume method. The model uses the power-law scheme for combined advection diffusion, and the fully-implicit scheme for the time step. It predicts internal velocities, gas and solid temperatures (assumed equal), pressure, and composition. Pressure and velocity equations use Darcy's Law for flow through a porous medium. Modeling results show the large effect of swelling on all particle properties. This model describes the flame region by extending the control volume into the gas phase.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





black liquor, combustion, modeling, droplet, boundary layer thickness