Coal, Soot, 13C NMR, Model Compounds


Soot samples, including the associated organics, produced from an Illinois No. 6 coal (five samples) and two model compounds, biphenyl (three samples) and pyrene (two samples), have been studied by 13C NMR methods. The coal soot data served as a guide to selection of the temperature range that would be most fruitful for investigation of the evolution of aerosols composed of soot and tars that are generated from model compounds. The evolution of the different materials in the gas phase followed different paths. The coal derived soots exhibited loss of aliphatic and oxygen functional groups prior to significant growth in average aromatic cluster size. Between 1410 and 1530 K, line broadening occurs in the aromatic band, which appears to have a Lorentzian component that is observable at the lower temperature and is quite pronounced at the higher temperature. The data indicate that the average aromatic cluster size (the number of carbon atoms in an aromatic ring system where the rings are connected through aromatic bridgehead carbon atoms) may be as large as 80-90 carbons/cluster. The data obtained for the biphenyl samples exhibit a different path for pyrolysis and soot growth. A significant amount of ring opening reactions occurs, followed by major structural rearrangements, after the initial ring opening and hydrogen transfer phase. The cluster size not only grows significantly, but the crosslinking structure also increases, indicating that soot growth in biphenyl soots consists not only of cluster size growth but also cluster cross-linking. The evolution of pyrene aerosol samples follows still another path. Little evidence is noted for ring opening reactions. Major ring growth has not occurred at 1410 K but cross-linking reactions are noted, indicating the formation of dimer/trimer structures. Although a significant amount of ring growth is noted, the data are inconclusive regarding the mechanism for ring growth in the pyrene aerosols between 1410 and 1460 K.

Original Publication Citation

Solum, M. S., A. F. Sarofim, R. J. Pugmire, T. H. Fletcher, and H. Zhang, "13C NMR Analysis of Soot Produced from Model Compounds and a Coal," Energy and Fuels, 15, 961-971 (2001).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



American Chemical Society




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Chemical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor