The speciation of arsenic in an Ohio bituminous coal and a North Dakota lignite has been examined by the complementary methods of arsenic XAFS spectroscopy and sequential extraction by aqueous solutions of ammonium acetate, HCl, HF, and HNO3. In order to facilitate a more direct comparison of the two methods, the arsenic XAFS spectra were obtained from aliquots of the coal prepared after each stage of the leaching procedure. For the aliquots, approximately linear correlations (r2 > 0.98 for the Ohio coal, > 0.90 for the ND lignite) were observed between the height of the edge-step in the XAFS analysis and the concentration of arsenic measured by instrumental neutron activation analysis. Results from the leaching sequence indicate that there are two major arsenic forms present in both coals; one is removed by leaching with HCl and the other by HNO3. Whereas the XAFS spectral signatures of the arsenic leached by HCl are compatible with arsenate for both coals, the arsenic leached by HNO3 is identified as arsenic associated with pyrite for the Ohio coal and as an As3+ species for the North Dakota lignite. Minor arsenate forms persist in both coals after the final leaching with nitric acid. The arsenate forms extracted in HCl are believed to be oxidation products derived from the other major arsenic forms upon exposure of the pulverized coals to air.
Additional publication details
Direct comparison of XAFS spectroscopy and sequential extraction for arsenic speciation in coal