As more industries and utilities convert to coal, ash fusion information becomes more important for boiler design (waste disposal systems). For example, burning a low fusion temperature coal can cause slagging—the buildup of molten ash on boiler waterwall tubes. Not only is boiler efficiency lowered, but downtime is also increased.
Recently, potential buyers of West Virginia coal have inquired frequently about ash fusion. However, the amount of information in the West Virginia Geological and EconomicSurvey’s data base is limited to data from about 800 samples, 50% of which were collected in five counties. Thus, the survey is conducting a study of ash fusion temperatures for the state’s coals, to increase available data and its geographic coverage.
A Leco AF-500 automated ash fusion analyzer was used in this study, which addresses: (1) reliability of results from an automated analyzer, (2) comparison of automated data with conventional data, (3) techniques of sample preparation, high-temperature ashing, and cone preparation, (4) ash-fusion trends in the state, and (5) research developments.
The research sought to develop for West Virginia coal a statistical correlation model relating ash-elemental data with fusion data, and to investigate the relationship between ash color and fusion temperature. (Light-colored ashes generally have higher fusion temperatures than darker ashes.)
The ash fusion project adds vital information to our computer data base. With this addition, the survey can offer a more complete, unbiased source of information about West Virginia seams to prospective buyers of West Virginia coal.