A convenient method for the quantitative determination of elemental sulfur in coal is described. Elemental sulfur is extracted from the coal with hot perchloroethylene (PCE) (tetrachloroethene, C2Cl4) and quantitatively determined by HPLC analysis on a C18 reverse-phase column using UV detection. Calibration solutions were prepared from sublimed sulfur. Results of quantitative HPLC analyses agreed with those of a chemical/spectroscopic analysis. The HPLC method was found to be linear over the concentration range of 6 ?? 10-4 to 2 ?? 10-2 g/L. The lower detection limit was 4 ?? 10-4 g/L, which for a coal sample of 20 g is equivalent to 0.0006% by weight of coal. Since elemental sulfur is known to react slowly with hydrocarbons at the temperature of boiling PCE, standard solutions of sulfur in PCE were heated with coals from the Argonne Premium Coal Sample program. Pseudo-first-order uptake of sulfur by the coals was observed over several weeks of heating. For the Illinois No. 6 premium coal, the rate constant for sulfur uptake was 9.7 ?? 10-7 s-1, too small for retrograde reactions between solubilized sulfur and coal to cause a significant loss in elemental sulfur isolated during the analytical extraction. No elemental sulfur was produced when the following pure compounds were heated to reflux in PCE for up to 1 week: benzyl sulfide, octyl sulfide, thiane, thiophene, benzothiophene, dibenzothiophene, sulfuric acid, or ferrous sulfate. A sluury of mineral pyrite in PCE contained elemental sulfur which increased in concentration with heating time. ?? 1993 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
A convenient method for the quantitative determination of elemental sulfur in coal by HPLC analysis of perchloroethylene extracts