Evolution of phosphine from aluminum phosphide pellets

Sherif Elsayed, Mark E. Casada, Ronaldo G. Maghirang, Mingjun Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phosphine gas (PH3) is widely used as a fumigant for stored product insect infestations due to its relatively low price and the near absence of residual chemical on the grain. Understanding the behavior of phosphine gas inside the fumigated space is crucial to maintaining a lethal dosage and protecting stored grain from subsequent insect damage. Phosphine is available either in gas form or is produced from a solid material, as pellets or tablets, that reacts with water in the air. The solid form is the most commonly used; however, limited information is available on the rate of phosphine gas generated from the solid material. In this study, a mathematical equation was formulated, based on previous studies in the literature, to describe the gas generation rate. This equation was incorporated into a computational model using ANSYS Fluent 19.1, a commercial software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. The computational model developed here allows prediction of the phosphine concentration within a fumigated grain bulk. The PH3 sorption was included in the model. The effect of temperature on the sorption rate was investigated based on published data, and the rate change due to temperature was characterized. The gas generated by a single pellet was measured in laboratory experiments in a 0.208 m3 sealed barrel. The measurements confirmed the CFD results with an error of 0.3%, 0.9%, and 7.2% for three different configurations. The deviations seen between the experimental replicates increased the error and show the need for further investigation of the effects of temperature, grain age and history, leakage, and other factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • CFD
  • Evolution rate
  • Phosphine
  • Sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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