py·​rol·​y·​sis pī-ˈrä-lə-səs How to pronounce pyrolysis (audio)
: chemical change brought about by the action of heat
pyrolytic adjective
pyrolytically adverb

Examples of pyrolysis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thinking of ways to address the ecological concern, scientists from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in Australia created a biochar (a substance created from pyrolysis) of coffee grounds that actually enhanced the strength of concrete by 30 percent. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 24 Aug. 2023 One way to do this is a process known as pyrolysis, which involves heating plastics to temperatures of anywhere from around 500 to over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit in a low-oxygen environment. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2021 To create the new, charcoal-like additive, the team employed a low-energy process known as pyrolysis, in which organic waste is heated to 350 degrees Celsius without oxygen to avoid generating carbon dioxide. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 23 Aug. 2023 Catalytic fast pyrolysis —a technique that uses catalysts to turn biomass into fuel in a matter of minutes—could be ready in 5 to 10 years with proper funding, says George Huber, a chemical engineer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Discover Magazine, 17 Nov. 2010 Charcoal is produced by pyrolysis, which means that an organic carbon-containing material, such as wood, coconut shells, coal, sawdust, or peat, is heated to high temperatures (600-900 ºC) in the absence of oxygen until the material is decomposed. Eunice Liu, Discover Magazine, 23 Aug. 2016 Critics argue plastic pyrolysis produces a very small amount of useful products and emits harmful pollutants. The Arizona Republic, 3 May 2023 Like the conventional hydrogen-production process, hydrogen pyrolysis starts with methane, the main component in natural gas. Ed Ballard, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 In 2022, the state Senate passed legislation that would have cleared the way for pyrolysis facilities for plastics, which would be similar to what MedRecycler is now pursuing in the courts. Brian Amaral,, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pyrolysis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin

First Known Use

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pyrolysis was circa 1890

Dictionary Entries Near pyrolysis

Cite this Entry

“Pyrolysis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Medical Definition


py·​rol·​y·​sis pī-ˈräl-ə-səs How to pronounce pyrolysis (audio)
plural pyrolyses -ˌsēz How to pronounce pyrolysis (audio)
: chemical change brought about by the action of heat
pyrolytic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on pyrolysis

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!