An investigation has been initiated to determine the effects of various atmospheres (6.9% O2/N2, 21% O2/N2 (air), 30% O2/N2, 3% H2/N2 and pure N2) on the efficiency of gasifying or combusting rubber waste to produce synthesis gas or generate steam or power. This paper reports on the findings from a series of TGA experiments at various heating rates on styrene-butadiene copolymer (SBR), which is the main starting component for tire manufacturing. The results indicate that oxygen enhanced atmospheres have a significant effect on increasing combustion efficiency at the tested heating rates. A hydrogen-spiked atmosphere, surprisingly, did not have a significant effect on the gasification rates of SBR at any heating rate; in addition, this atmosphere resulted in a carbon residual that remained in the sample carrier, something that was not observed in the other atmospheres, including pure nitrogen. An unexpected result of the N2-O2 tests was the development of a plateau in the mass-loss versus temperature curves, at temperatures near 500°C.

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