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Natalia Suarez; Julián Pulido;
Álvaro Jiménez
1, 2
Distrital University Francisco José de Caldas
Students; Coals; 2 Teacher
Bogotá D.C. 6th March 2018

Abstract: in the following article, it will be shown the results obtained in the laboratory practice
of proximate analysis of a coal sample in which we sought to determine the moisture, volatile
matter, ash and density of the coal sample number nine, these determinations were made
according to the American Standard Methods. All this was made in order to recognize the type
of coal and its characteristics. For the analized coal sample was obtained a moisture percentage
of 7,9 %, a percentage of ash of 12,3%, a percentage of volatile matter of 5,55% and a density
of 0,9252 g/mL. Finally it can be concluded that according to percentage of fixed coal, it is
posible to classify the carbón sample as bituminous.
Key words: ash, moisture, density, fixed coal, calorific power, type of coal.
INTRODUCTION capable of generating energy. However, it is
also a potential source of derivatives that
Oil is a non-renewable resource, which is
can be separated by processes such as
exhausted day by day, which is why it has
gasification, liquefaction, coking, etc. These
become necessary to start looking for
are techniques that use temperature and
alternative sources of energy. One of the
pressure to transform coal into different
most affected sectors is transportation,
products such as oils, resins and fuels.
specifically in the supply of liquid and
gaseous fuels, which is why we have chosen Coal originates from the decomposition of
to think of obtaining them from coal, as it is terrestrial plants, accumulated in shallow
a relatively economical and environmentally marshy areas. These are covered with water
friendly option ambient. and protected from the air. Thus, a slow
transformation by action of anaerobic
Taking into account the difficulties that
bacteria and a progressive carbon
frame the use of oil and that in countries
enrichment begins.
such as Colombia, the clearest option is coal,
it is necessary to carry out analyzes that The classification of carbon is made
allow knowing the physical and chemical according to the time it has remained on the
properties of coal, with the purpose of earth, the conditions of pressure,
choosing the one from which greater profit temperature and environment, since this
can be obtained. depends on the content of carbon, oxygen,
sulfur, nitrogen and other metals. According
to the degree of carbonification, peat can be
Coal can be defined as a sedimentary rock of found, which is the least evolved and in
organic origin, which under combustion is which plant material shows little alteration
until anthracite, which is the mineral carbon of volatile combustible matter, relative
with the greatest evolution. The range of the density, moisture and percentage of ash, that
mineral coal is determined from the content is, from a close analysis.
Table 1. Main characteristics of the different types of coal.

Fixed Moisture Volatile Calorific

C% % Matter% power
Anthracite 86-98 <3 <5 23 – 33

Bituminous 45-86 5 - 10 10 – 30 24 – 35

35-45 15 - 30 30 – 40 20 – 21

Lignite 25-42 40 - 60 40 - 50 10 -20

Peat < 25

Moisture Content matter is made by combustion of gases such

as hydrogen, oxides and carbon, methane,
Moisture is determined as the percentage of
among other hydrocarbons.
weight loss when the sample is heated to 105
° C in an oven. If it is carried to a higher The volatile matter is determined from a
temperature it is considered a water loss that capsule out of contact with air at a fixed
can generate pyrolysis reactions. Moisture temperature of 900 ° C for 7 minutes. In this
varies due to the conditions of extraction way, coal can be classified into a low level of
and preparation of the sample, when the volatile matter such as high quality coal and
carbon manages to reach a suitable high volatile matter as dangerous because it
temperature and atmosphere, we speak of can cause autoignition in an unexpected
an equilibrium or standard moisture. way.
The percentage of moisture has lower Ash
transport costs, agglomerations are
It is considered the solid residue that
diminished, and can act as an inert substance
remains after the complete combustion. The
that decreases the enthalpy of the change of
mineral matter is not kept constant because
it modifies its combination thanks to
Volatile Matter combustion. In a few cases the ash content
obtained in the presence of air is the default
This property of carbon is of great
measure of the mineral substance of the
importance, because it determines the
coal, which normalizes the temperature and
reactivity and ease of ignition of carbon, this
the duration of the test.
These ashes define the incombustible matter First 1g of sample is weighed and passed
of the coal being thus a high amount of through a 250 micron sieve, then placed in a
ashes little calorific power and vice versa. pre-weighed crucible and covered quickly.
Then place the crucible with the sample in a
Fixed Carbon
muffle until it reaches a temperature of 450
It is possible to obtain a difference of 100 to 500 ° C in one hour, continue heating
from the sum of the contents in percent of until it reaches 700-750 ° C and let it heat
moisture, volatiles and ashes. This fixed for an hour, finally remove the crucible of
carbon is used to determine the amount of the muffle with lid, let it cool in the
coke. desiccator and weigh it.

METHODOLOGY Determination of volatile matter

Determination of density The volatile matter is determined by
establishing the loss in weight when heating
An empty pycnometer was dried and the coal or coke, under rigidly controlled
weighed, then sodium hydroxide was added conditions. The corrected weight loss for
and weighed again. After this, the same residual moisture represents the content of
procedure was carried out; using 0.5 g of the volatile matter.
carbon sample, and dissolving it in sodium
hydroxide to complete the volume, finally it Transfer 1 g of sample to a pre-set crucible
was weighed, and left for 24 hours to weigh and bring it to the oven with lid at a
again, and be able to determine the density temperature of 950 ° C and leave it for two
of the carbon. or three minutes, and then complete the
time of seven minutes. Remove crucible
Determination of moisture without removing the lid and take it to the
Take a completely clean empty capsule and desiccator, until it reaches room
heat until completely dry, then transfer to a temperature. Determine the percentage of
desiccator and allow to cool for 15 to 30 volatile matter
minutes. Next, 1 g of powdered sample is RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
taken and placed in the capsule, where the
lid is weighed, while the oven is preheated Determination of density
to 104º-110ºC, to introduce the capsule in
The results obtained are shown in the table
the oven without a lid in the oven for one
2 taking into account that 0,499 grams of
hour. Finally, the capsule is transferred to
coal were weighed.
the desiccator with a lid for 30 min while it
dries, to then weigh the capsule and Table 2. Weights in density
determine the moisture. determination.
Determination of ashes MATERIAL WEIGTH (g)
Dry pycnometer 8,706
The ashes are determined by weighing the Pycnometer +
remaining residue after burning the coal or 9,205
coke under strictly controlled conditions of Pycnometer +
sample weight, temperature, time, solvent mixture – 13,3320
atmosphere and equipment specifications. coal (24h)
Ap. Density of coal 0,9252 g/ml Capsule + sample 17,5270
Capsule + MCV
free sample
Determination of moisture % MCV 5,55
The results obtained are shown in the table
3 taking into account that 0,9557 grams of Fixed coal
coal were weighed.
% 𝐹𝑖𝑥𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑎𝑙 = 100 − (7,9 + 12,3 + 5,55)
Table 3. Weights in moisture
determination. % 𝐹𝑖𝑥𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑎𝑙 = 74,25

MATERIAL WEIGHT (g) According to the results obtained and ASTM D

Capsule 16,6443 388-99, it is possible to classify the coal sample
number nine as a bituminous coal, which is a
Capsule + sample 17,6000
coal characterized by having a low percentage of
Capsule + sample
moisture and volatile matter, in addition to a
after removing 17,5300
relatively high percentage fixed coal.
Differences 0,07 According to the ISO 11760-2005 standard,
% Moisture 7,9 bituminous coal is a hard coal of black color or
sometimes dark brown, it is a bright material
that is formed from peat. This carbon is often
Determination of ashes used in the manufacture of coke because it
usually has low phosphorus levels.
The results obtained are shown in the table
4 taking into account that 1,003 grams of CONCLUSIONS
coal were weighed.
Through the proximate analysis it was
Table 4. Weights in ashes possible to determine the main
determination. characteristics of a coal sample and this
allowed characterize turn determine the type
of coal to which it belongs, which also
Moisture free
21,2368 allows estimating its usefulness and
Capsule + sample 22,2398 industrial application for example the
Capsule + ash 21,3603 manufacturing of coke.
% Ash 12,3 By means of the analysis carried out it was
possible to determine that the sample
Determination of volatile matter studied corresponds to a bituminous coal
characterized by having low percentages of
The results obtained are shown in the table volatile matter, humidity and ash, which
5 taking into account that 0,9557 grams of gives it the property of having a relatively
coal were weighed. high percentage of coal and a high calorific
Table 5. Weights in volatile matter power.
determination. BIBLIOGRAPHY
MATERIAL WEIGHT (g) Barrera Zapata, Rolando, Pérez Bayer, Juan
Capsule 16,6443 F, & Salazar Jiménez, Carlos. (2014).
Colombian carbons: classification and
thermochemical characterization for energy
applications. ION Magazine, 27 (2), 43-54.
Retrieved October 25, 2016, from:
unalmed (s.f.). Next analyzes. Obtained
from Upcoming Analysis:
nalisis_proximos.htm# Composition of ash
SiO2 and Al2O3.