Pyrolytic carbon is carbon which is generated by the pyrolysis of organic matter in an oxygen-free atmosphere.
Pyrolytic carbon can be quantified via TGA. Once pyrolysis concludes in a nitrogen atmosphere, the gas atmosphere in the thermal analyzer is switched to air or oxygen. The pyrolytic carbon that was generated is burned and released as CO2. This mass loss can be recorded by means of TGA.
The figure below shows the pyrolysis of polyvinyl alcohol in a nitrogen atmosphere and the subsequent burning of the pyrolytic carbon in an air atmosphere. The change in the gas atmosphere was carried out at 800°C. The pyrolytic carbon portion amounted to 3.9%. These kinds of studies are carried out mainly for polymers and can only be done on samples which do not already contain carbon black in the form of a filler, dye or carbon fiber reinforcement.
Measurement conditions: RT–800°C, nitrogen atmosphere 40 ml/min, 800°C–1000°C, air atmosphere 40 ml/min, heating rate 10 K/min, sample mass 10 mg