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An anthracite slurry can be oxidized only with difficulty by electrolytic methods in which aqueous electrolytes are used if the slurry is confined to the region of the anode by a porous pot or diaphragm. However, it can be easily oxidized if the anthracite itself is used as the anode. No porous pot or diaphragm is needed. Oxidative consumption of the coal to alkali-soluble compounds is found to proceed preferentially at the edges of the aromatic planes. An oxidation model is proposed in which the chief oxidants are molecular and radical species formed by the electrolytic decomposition of water at the coal surface-electrolyte interface. The oxidation reactions proposed account for the opening of the aromatic rings and the subsequent formation of carboxylic acids. The model also explains the observed anisotropic oxidation and the need for the porous pot or diaphragm used in previous studies of the oxidation of coal slurries. ?? 1981.