Unraveling reaction pathways and specifying reaction kinetics for complex systems

R. Vinu*, Linda J. Broadbelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Many natural and industrial processes involve a complex set of competing reactions that include several different species. Detailed kinetic modeling of such systems can shed light on the important pathways involved in various transformations and therefore can be used to optimize the process conditions for the desired product composition and properties. This review focuses on elucidating the various components involved in modeling the kinetics of pyrolysis and oxidation of polymers. The elementary free radical steps that constitute the chain reaction mechanism of gas-phasenonpolar liquid-phase processes are outlined. Specification of the rate coefficients of the various reaction families, which is central to the theme of kinetics, is described. Construction of the reaction network on the basis of the types of end groups and reactive moieties in a polymer chain is discussed. Modeling frameworks based on the method of moments and kinetic Monte Carlo are evaluated using illustrations. Finally, the prospects and challenges in modeling biomass conversion are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-54
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Evans-Polanyi relationship
  • Free radicals
  • Kinetic Monte Carlo
  • Moment-based models
  • Oxidation
  • Pyrolysis
  • Rate coefficients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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