Pyrolysis and combustion kinetics of disposable surgical face mask produced during Covid-19 pandemic

Arshad Adam Salema, Yasmin Mohd Zaifullizan, Wai Hong Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In order to prevent the spread of Covid 19, most countries have made face masks compulsory. Millions of face masks are disposed of daily in the community. Therefore, the aim of the present research work is to carry out the pyrolysis and combustion process of the face mask in a thermogravimetric machine. The kinetic parameter activation energy was calculated using model-free methods (Flynn-Wall-Ozawa, Kissinger-Akihara-Sunose, and Starink) at four different heating rates (5, 10, 15, and 20°C/min). Results have shown that face masks decompose in the temperature range of 320–480°C during pyrolysis with a maximum derivative weight loss of 2.5%/°C. Combustion took place between 200°C and 370°C with a maximum derivative weight loss of 1.25%/°C. The residue char at 500°C for pyrolysis and combustion was in the range of 1.74 to 2.73 wt.%. The average activation energies calculated using model-free methods for pyrolysis and combustion were ~135 kJ/mol and ~65 kJ/mol, respectively. In conclusion, combustion process could be the immediate solution to dispose of the face mask due to lower activation energy and decomposition temperature and low emissions as compared to pyrolysis process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-576
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization and Environmental Effects
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • combustion
  • Face mask
  • kinetics
  • pyrolysis
  • waste

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