Mineral matter distribution on coal surface and its effect on coal wettability

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Coal is an organic sedimentary rock composed of organic macerals and mineral matter. As it is demonstrated in this paper the discrete mineralogical nature of coal largely influences the wetting of the coal surface by water. Both advancing and receding contact angles were measured using the captive-bubble technique with an automatic bubble shape analysis software. The distribution and amount of mineral inclusions on the coal surface were determined by scanning electron microscopy and examined using the image analysis system. To determine the amount and size distribution of mineral grains, the coal surface layer, on which the contact angles were measured, was separated from the larger piece used in the measurements by microslicing. The separated surface layer was subjected to a low-temperature ashing followed by particle size analysis. As expected, a significant scatter of contact angle values was obtained for the same coal samples. Increasing the amount of mineral matter on the coal surface reduced the value of both advancing and receding contact angles. Also, the scatter of contact angle values increased with the increasing mineral matter content from about 1 to 50 wt%. The results reveal that an important factor in analysis of contact angle variation on coal surfaces is the size of the hydrophilic mineral inclusions. Both the advancing and the receding contact angles decrease with increasing size of the mineral grains. Additionally, the scatter of contact angle values increase with increasing size of the mineral matter grains. Finally, the results of fractal dimension analysis of mineral matter grains distributed over the coal surface indicate that there is no significant effect from the shape of hydrophilic mineral inclusions on both advancing and receding contact angles.

Publisher's Statement

Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1006/jcis.2001.8130

Publication Title

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science