This study investigated the thermal degradation energy (activation energy, Ea) for nitrocellulose (NC) with low nitrogen content of 11.71 mass%, so-called NC3, by using two different kinds of thermal analysis instruments: thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A comparison of Ea for various nitrogen content NC samples at two scanning rates (5 and 10 °C min−1) tested by TGA and DSC is also discussed in this paper. Meanwhile, our aim was to analyze the anti-degradation of Ea for NC with high nitrogen content, as so-called NC1. Thermal stability for NC1 with diphenylamine (DPA) was tested via DSC with 10 DPA concentrations in weights of 0, 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.50, 1.75, 2.0, and 3.0 mass%. Experimental results indicated that Ea of NC3s was 319.91 kJ mol−1. Moreover, that while dosing DPA into NC1 the best recipe could be employed to avoid any violent NC1 runaway and also can be used to distinguish the differences of thermal decomposition Ea between NC with different nitrogen contents. This study established a fast and efficient procedure for thermal decomposition properties of NC, and could be applied as an intrinsically safer design during relevant operations.
PROCESS SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, 88(6):413-419.