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Solid Fuels


Solid fuels are both available in nature and can be artificially prepared
Various examples of solid fuels are wood, peat, coal, charcoal, coke etc
In this section we will be learning about coal in brief.
Coal is a combustible solid fuel. It is formed in nature from all decomposed material.
Analysis of coal
The purposes for coal analysis are.


To determine quality
To calculate calorific value of coal sample
To decide price of coal
To specify purpose for which coal can be used
The coal extracted from deep is analyzed in two ways

1. Proximate Analysis
2. Ultimate Analysis
1) Proximate Analysis of Coal.
Proximate analysis of coal involves the estimation of amount of following
constituents in particular coal sample.

Percentage of moisture
Percentage of volatile matter
Percentage of Ash
Percentage of fixed carbon

a) % Moisture
A known quantity of air dried coal sample taken in a crucible is kept in an electric
oven maintained at 105-1100 C for about 1 hour. Then the coal sample is taken out
and cooled in a dissector and weighed again.
Percentage of moisture= I nitial weightfinal weight of coal sam X 100
Weight of air dried coal sample
b) % Volatile Matter.
This analysis can be done in two ways
a) Starting with air dried coal sample
b) Starting with moisture free coal.
a) Starting with air dried coal sample

A known quantity of air dried coal sample is taken in a crucible with vented lid and
kept in a muffle furnace maintained at (950 25)0 c for exactly 7 minutes. After
this the crucible is removed cooled and weighed.
% Volatile matter =

lossweight of coal sample

weight of air dried coal sample x100 - % Moisture

b) Starting with moisture free coal

A known quantity of moisture free coal sample obtained from air dried coal sample is
taken in a crucible and same procedure as above is carried out.
% Volatile Matter =

weight of volatile matter

weight of air dried coal samole x 100

c) % Ash
The coal obtained from above performed experiments is taken in a crucible and
heated at 7500 c for exactly 30 minutes. Residue left is then cooled and weighed
weight of residue
% Ash = weight of air dried coal sample x100

d) % Fixed carbon
It is calculated as follows
% fixed carbon=100-

Moisture+ volatile matter+ Ash


Significance of proximate Analysis of coal

This analysis gives us an idea about calorific value of coal
Higher the moisture content lower is the calorific value
This also gives an inset into transportation cost of coal.


Volatile Matter
It decreases calorific value of coal
It forms smokes and pollutes air
Coal containing volatile matter burns with a sooty flame

c) Ash
1) Ash reduces calorific value of coal as it is the non burning part in coal
2) Ash disposal is a problem
Hence lesser the quantity of ash better is quality of the coal.
c) Fixed carbon

1) Fixed carbon enhances the calorific value of coal

2) Ultimate Analysis of Coal
In ultimate analysis of coal the percentages of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulphur
and oxygen are found out experimentally
a) Percentage of Carbon and Hydrogen in Coal.

1) A known weight of powdered and air dried coal sample is burnt in the presence of
pure oxygen in a combustion apparatus. During this process C and H are converted
to CO2and H2O vapors respectively.
2) The gaseous products formed are first through the preweighed U-tube containing
anhydrous CaCl2 (absorbs water vapors ) and then through the KOH solution in a
preweighed U-tube ( absorbs Co2 vapors )
3) The increase in weight of U-tube containing anhydrous CaCl 2 corresponds to weight
of water formed and increase in weight of U- tube containing KOH solution
corresponds to CO2 formed, by combustion of coal sample
C + O2 CO2
12 32
H2 +





The % C and % H are calculated as follows


Weight of CO 2 formed
weight of coal sample
44 x 100


Weight of H 2 O formed
weight of coal sample x 18 x 100

b) Nitrogen in Coal
1) A known weight of powdered and air dried coal sample is heated with concentrated

H 2 So4

along with

K 2 So 4

catalyst in a long neck kjeldahls flask

2) After the contents become clear it is treated with alkali solution in a round bottom
flask. The ammonia liberated is passed in known volume of standard acid solution
3) The unused acid is determined by back titration with NaOH solution


Volume of acid consumed x Normality of acid x 1.4

weight of coal sample

c) Sulphur in Coal

1) Take about 10ml of distilled water in the Bomb pot. Burn the known weights of
powdered and air dried coal sample in the Bomb calorimeter experiment
2) Then collect the washings of the Bomb pot in a beaker. Add Ba


solution in it

3) Fitter the precipitate of BaSo4, dry it and weigh the precipitate of BaSo 4from weight
of BaSo4 precipitate calculate % S as follows

weight of BaSo 4 ppt

weight of coal sample x 233 x100

d) % O2
It is obtained as follows
% Oxygen = 100 (% C + % H + % N + % S + % ash)
Significance of ultimate analysis of Coal
a) Carbon
1) Carbon enhances the quantity and hence colorific value of coal.
b) Hydrogen
1) Hydrogen forms a non combustible part of fuel hence it reduces calorific value of
c) Sulphur
1) Sulphur can burn and enhance calorific value of coal but sulphur emission lead to
acid rains, corrosion off metallic equipments
2) Hence lesser the % of S better the quality of coal
d) Oxygen
1) Oxygen decreases calorific value of coal hence lesser its amount better is quantity of