U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Thermochimica Acta 512 (2011) 170–177; doi:10.1016/j.tca.2010.10.001


Forest understory grasses are of significance in the initiation, establishment and maintenance of fire, whether used as a management tool or when occurring as wildfire. The fundamental thermal properties of such grasses are critical to their behavior in fire situations and have been investigated in the current work by the application of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). TGA was performed in nitrogen and air, over a range of heating rates, allowing for the determination of activation energies and temperatures associated with the degradation of hemicelluloses and cellulose. Of particular interest is the behavior of Imperata cylindrica (cogongrass) an invasive species in the southern United States, which has been found to result in elevated temperatures during fires in forested ecosystems. The results from TGA for this species are in accord with these observations from the field.