Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Research on the pyrolysis or organic compounds has received an increasing amount of attention in recent years. The pyrolysis of terpene hydrocarbons has been of interest primarily because of their wide-spread and abundant natural occurrence. In addition terpenes have been investigated because of their interesting stereochemistry.

Menthol is a C10 monocyolic terpene alcohol. Its thermal decomposition at temperatures greater than 500°C has not been investigated previously because of inadequate methods of analysis.

The pyrolysis of other terpene hydrocarbons has revealed new routes to useful intermediates from relatively cheap source materials. Menthol, however, has never been considered as a possibility in these studies.

The stereochemistry of menthol has led to its extensive use in studying the mechanism of thermal elimination reactions.

The mechanism of thermal decomposition in pyrolysis reaction has been reported for several terpene hydrocarbons. Such investigations prior to this study, however, did not include menthol.

The objects or this investigation were; a) to study the pyrolysis of menthol from 450° to 750° C and determine the major products of the reaction both qualitatively and quantitatively, and b) to postulate and discuss mechanisms of the pyrolysis based on these results.

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