Thermal analysis plays an important role in the evaluation and development of many complex chemical systems. Often combustion data as well as pyrolytic data on these systems may be important. Analytical techniques are required which maximize the amount of useful information which can be obtained per thermal experiment. Fourier transform infrared spectral analysis of gases evolving from materials vs temperature can provide information on both pyrolysis and combustion processes, and an apparatus for performing such analysis routinely is described. While the Fourier transform infrared evolved gas analysis (FT-IR-EGA) system has numerous applications, three applications using tobacco as a sample are presented for illustration. These include comparison of different materials, comparison of materials before and after modification and examination of oxygen-induced effects relative to pyrolysis effects. The FT-IR-EGA technique should prove to be a useful tool in elucidating thermal processes in complex systems.

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