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Spontaneous combustion commonly occurs in storage and waste dumps from coal mining. It has been suggested that this can be prevented by the use of a protective layer (possibly compacted) of a reactive material. As the coal ages (becomes oxidized), the coal reactivity toward oxygen decreases and the oxygen profile changes. Analyses of the oxygen concentration profiles in a 3-m-long, 20 cm inside diameter plastic column filled with coal were performed for a period of up to 8 mo. The results were modeled, and they can be adequately fitted to a simple diffusion/reaction model.

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