Volatile Compounds Generated During the Pyrolysis of Wood-based Fuels Used in Firefighter Training: a Pyrolysis-GC/MS Study

Air Monitoring, Methods, and Technology
Poster Presentation

Prepared by M. Lotfi Marchoubeh, H. Knight, G. Horn
UL-FSRI, 6200 Old Dobbin Ln , Suite 150, Columbia, MD, 21045, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 479-466-3211


The pyrolysis by-products of five wood products (low-density wood fiberboard, oriented strand board, pine, particle board and plywood), commonly used in fire training evolutions were studied using pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. A small sample of each material was pyrolyzed under helium from 300 °C to 800 °C and the pyrolysates were separated and detected to further understand the generation of compounds that may become airborne and lead to occupational exposure risk during live-fire training. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, p-xylene, styrene and naphthalene were selectively monitored, and other by-products of pyrolysis were identified by a non-targeted analysis. The results from total ion chromatogram and selected ion monitoring indicate that oriented strand board and plywood generate the largest variety of pyrolysis by-products and the greatest total concentration of the targeted analytes. On the other hand, as cut pine board, and low-density fiber board which has a wax based as binder, generate the smallest total amounts of compounds studied.