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CAER Seminars

Fundamental Studies in Fuel Science: An Organic Chemistry Perspective

Dr. A. C. Buchanan, III
Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Friday, March 8th, 1996, 2:30 p.m.
Ben Bandy Conference Room
Center for Applied Energy Research

Our research program at ORNL aims to provide new knowledge on the organic chemical structure and reactivity of fossil and renewable resources such as coal, lignin, and biomass. Solid-state NMR methods are being developed for the structural analysis of chemically modified coals and lignins, which also can be applied to the analysis of other complex organic solids such as derivatized charcoals, graphites, and polymers. Current research is focusing on high resolution, solid state19F-NMR and triple resonance techniques that utilize the 13C-19F dipolar interaction to provide local structure information in fluorinated organics. Reaction chemistry for the selective fluorination of organic functional groups is also under development. Reaction kinetics and mechanisms that underpin thermal and catalyzed reactions of coal and lignin are being investigated through the use of fluid-phase, silica-immobilized, and polymeric organic model compounds. Key issues currently being addressed include the influence of heteroatoms on pyrolysis mechanisms, impact of restricted mass transport on reactions involving free-radical and carbocation intermediates, and elucidation of reaction pathways associated with retrogressive reactions. Thermolysis of oxygen-containing functional groups prevalent in low rank coals and lignin such as carboxylic acids, ethers, and phenols are a current focus. This presentation will highlight selected recent developments in these areas.