Nathan Whitely

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Wei-Ping Pan, Stuart Burris, Blaine Ferrell


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Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Chicken litter disposal is a major economic and pollution concern. Poor waste management practices lead to air and water pollution. New methods must be developed in order to meet the increasing demands for safe, cost efficient, and environmentally friendly disposal. Thermal decomposition of chicken litter can be effectively used to generate useful materials via pyrolysis and energy via combustion; however, the decomposition mechanisms must be characterized to optimize yields and reaction conditions.

Evolved gas analysis (EGA) techniques including thermogravimetric-mass spectrometry (TG-MS), TG-fourier transform infrared (TG-FTIR), and pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) were used to identify off-gases and map a mechanism for the combustion and pyrolysis of chicken litter. Major evolved gas components include ammonia, water, carbon dioxide and methane. The atmosphere in which thermal decomposition takes place affects the rate and composition at which outgases evolve.


Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics