Pyrolysis behavior, kinetics, and thermodynamics of waste pharmaceutical blisters under CO2 atmosphere  

Binhui Wang, Zhitong Yao *, Markus Reinmöller, Nanda Kishore, Fiseha Tesfaye, Rafael Luque*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The disastrous impact of COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significantly increased production and use of pharmaceutical drugs, which is accompanied by the rapid generation of waste pharmaceutical blisters (WPBs). Nonetheless, its treatment has not gained appropriate attentions and a perceptible process development was not achieved. In this study, the WPBs pyrolysis in CO2 atmosphere was conducted as well as the thermodynamics and kinetics were investigated. The thermogravimetric analysis revealed that the WPBs decomposition could be divided into two stages of 25−365 °C and 365−900 °C with mass loss of 56.5−60.5 wt% and 22.5−25.9 wt%, respectively. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analysis indicated the dechlorination process initiating at ~300 °C. The simultaneous asymmetric stretching of HCl and stretching vibration of C−Cl bond was detected in the range of 2600−3250 cm-1 and 660−750 cm-1, respectively. The dechlorination reactions were almost complete at ~520 °C and minor peaks (2900−3100 cm-1) due to C-H vibrations were observed. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis indicated that the evolved products included alkanes, benzene, olefin, as well as HCl. The cycloalkenes content significantly increased during the second conversion stage, implying the addition reactions between alkanes and olefins. The apparent activation energy was calculated using three model-free methods and the values from Flynn-Wall-Ozawa model increased from 142.0 to 255.8 kJ·mol-1 with an average value of 147.4 kJ·mol-1. The methods of Coats-Redfern as well as Malek were applied to determine the reaction mechanism. The one-dimensional diffusion model was more reliable to describe the WPBs pyrolysis. This study will represent a significant reference case for the thermochemical conversion of multilayer packing waste and facing the increasing demand for the medical waste recycling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105883
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Pharmaceutical waste
  • Recycling
  • Circular economy


Dive into the research topics of 'Pyrolysis behavior, kinetics, and thermodynamics of waste pharmaceutical blisters under CO2 atmosphere  '. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this