Coal Characteristics

Bruce G. Miller, David A. Tillman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Coal is the dominant solid fuel source worldwide. This chapter discusses coal formation, coalification, and characteristics, with an emphasis on the organic or combustible materials in coal. Coal is a sedimentary rock composed of both organic and inorganic materials. Coal is composed of macerals, discrete minerals, inorganic elements held molecularly by the organic matter, and water and gases contained in submicroscopic pores. Organically, coal consists primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and lesser amounts of sulfur and nitrogen. Inorganically, coal consists of a diverse range of ash-forming compounds distributed throughout the coal. The inorganic constituents can vary in concentration from several percentage points to parts per billion of the coal. This chapter also discusses the relationships between coal structure and behavioral characteristics, and coal resources and reserves, with an emphasis on those located in North America and the United States. It presents coal petrography, traditional methods for analyzing coal, and evaluation of coal properties by nontraditional characterization methods, with an emphasis on how they are applied in industrial applications. Furthermore, it describes traditional coal characterization methods and their application to industry, with some special tests specific to some companies and nontraditional techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCombustion Engineering Issues for Solid Fuel Systems
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages49
ISBN (Print)9780123736116
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Energy


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