Sampling and Analysis Part 1: Coal Analysis

Akers, David J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 27
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
INTRODUCTION The variety of uses of coal and the wide range of characteristics of coal combine to produce a need for a wide variety of laboratory analysis. Coal is used to heat homes, produce electricity, and make coke for steel manufacture. It can also be used to produce both gaseous and liquid fuels as well as a variety of chemical products. Various applications may require specialized analytical procedures. For example, some of the procedures developed for the coke industry, such as expansion or contraction during carbonization, have little value to the power generation industry. Even for a single application, the type of analysis needed can depend on the source and/or general nature of the coal. This section provides a general overview of the types of analytical procedures commonly applied to coal from the perspective of the user of this information, not the producer. The intent is not to detail laboratory procedures, but rather to discuss the application of commonly used laboratory tests in coal preparation. Accordingly, laboratory procedures are categorized by type of information produced. Gravimetric Analysis Procedures that produce weight-based information (parts per million, pounds per cubic foot, or weight percent). Such analyses can relate to the coal's physical, chemical, or mineralogical characteristics. Volumetric Analysis Procedures that produce volume-based information (amount of a mineral present as a volume percent). The primary source of volumetric information is from petrographic analysis. Application Tests Procedures that measure some characteristic of coal that has been empirically related to some application or handling or processing step. Typically, these procedures attempt to duplicate some aspect of the commercial application at laboratory scale and may produce information in the form of an index. Applications procedures do not measure a single component of the coal but infer the combined effect of multiple components. Each class of information is discussed in the order listed. References are provided as a source of more detailed information. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) publishes the most inclusive reference to analytical procedures. This publication,16 which is revised annually, provides extensive information concerning generally accepted methods of laboratory analysis. ASTM also provides standards for sampling and some information concerning sample handling.
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