Chemical/Physical Properties and Marketing

Hower, James C. ; Parekh, B. K.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 93
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
Introduction The purpose of coal preparation is to improve the quality of coal to make it suitable for a specific purpose by (1) cleaning to remove inorganic impurities; (2) sizing-crushing or screening, or both; and (3) special treatment, such as dedusting. The properties and quantities of impurities in coal are of major importance in the design and operation of steam generating equipment. Although boilers are often designed and equipped to use a wide range of coals, no boiler will perform equally well with all types of coals. All coals have certain properties that place limitations on their most advantageous use. These limitations are especially stringent for many of the older installations. Because of a general lowering of quality of raw coal in recent years, the need for coal cleaning has significantly increased. Among the factors contributing to the need for increased coal preparation are (1) increased demand for quality brought on by market and environmental requirements; (2) increased extraneous dilution caused by mine, health, and safety laws; and (3) depletion of the higher-quality coal seams. The major characteristics of coal and impurities from the standpoint of mechanical cleaning are particle size composition, generally called size consist; density differences; the relative friability of the coal and its associated impurities; hardness; and strength. Some of the other factors related to preparation are petrographic composition and rank. RANK CLASSIFICATION Coal is a general designation for a great number of solid organic minerals with different compositions and properties; all are rather rich in carbon and have a dark color, generally black. Next to mineral oil and kerogen, coal is the most important reservoir of carbon in the world. Carbon is an indispensable necessity of life as well as the main source of energy. Coals are found in stratified deposits, sometimes at great depths. All coals owe their origins to slow decomposition and chemical conversion of immense masses of organic material. As found in seams, coal is a heterogeneous mixture of organic and inorganic materials. Not only are there large differences in the properties of coal originating from different seams, but also in coal removed from different locations in a single seam. A genetic relationship exists between peats, brown coals, lignites, biturninous coals, and anthracites. As a whole, the process of coal formation, or coalification, proceeds as a continuous transformation of plant material, each phase characterized by a degree of coalification, or rank. As a measure of this rank, the carbon content or some related parameter can be used.
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