Hydropyrolysis: implications for radiocarbon pretreatment and characterization of black carbon

Ascough, P.L., Bird, M.I., Meredith, W., Wood, R.E., Snape, C.E., Brock, F., Higham, T.F.G., Large, D.J., and Apperley, D.C. (2010) Hydropyrolysis: implications for radiocarbon pretreatment and characterization of black carbon. Radiocarbon, 52 (2-3). pp. 1336-1350.

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Abstract

Charcoal is the result of natural and anthropogenic burning events, when biomass is exposed to elevated temperatures under conditions of restricted oxygen. This process produces a range of materials, collectively known as pyrogenic carbon, the most inert fraction of which is known as black carbon (BC). BC degrades extremely slowly and is resistant to diagenetic alteration involving the addition of exogenous carbon, making it a useful target substance for radiocarbon dating particularly of more ancient samples, where contamination issues are critical. We present results of tests using a new method for the quantification and isolation of BC, known as hydropyrolysis (hypy). Results show controlled reductive removal of non-BC organic components in charcoal samples, including lignocellulosic and humic material. The process is reproducible and rapid, making hypy a promising new approach not only for isolation of purified BC for 14C measurement but also in quantification of different labile and resistant sample C fractions.

Item ID: 11894
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0033-8222
Additional Information:

Reproduced with permission from Radiocarbon.

Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2010 03:58
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 100%
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