A detailed two-dimensional mathematical model is proposed for the microwave-induced pyrolysis of a wood block, based on a close combination of the propagation and absorption of electromagnetic waves into the lignocellulosic material and heat/mass transfer with chemical reactions. Owing to characteristic times shorter by several orders of magnitude, a quasi-steady approximation is used for the electromagnetic field. In agreement with experimental observation, predicted field variables show a conversion process controlled by volumetric heating with a reaction zone that rapidly enlarges from the most internal region towards the external surface. Good quantitative agreement is also obtained between the measured and predicted weight loss characteristics. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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