Nanometre-sized pores in coal: Variations between coal basins and coal origin

International Journal of Coal Geology
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Abstract

We have used small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to investigate the differences in methane and hexane penetration in pores in bituminous coal samples from the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and China, and maceral concentrates from Australian coals. This work is an extension of previous work that showed consistent differences between the extent of penetration by methane into 10–20 nm size pores in inertinite in bituminous coals from Australia, North America and Poland.

In this study we have confirmed that there are differences in the response of inertinite to methane and hexane penetration in coals sourced from different coal basins. Inertinite in Permian Australian coals generally has relatively high numbers of pores in the 2.5–250 nm size range and the pores are highly penetrable by methane and hexane; coals sourced from Western Canada had similar penetrability to these Australian coals. However, the penetrability of methane and hexane into inertinite from the Australian Illawarra Coal Measures (also Permian) is substantially less than that of the other Australian coals; there are about 80% fewer 12 nm pores in Illawarra inertinite compared to the other Australian coals examined. The inertinite in coals sourced from South Africa and China had accessibility intermediate between the Illawarra coals and the other Australian coals.

The extent of hexane penetration was 10–20% less than CD4 penetration into the same coal and this difference was most pronounced in the 5–50 nm pore size range. Hexane and methane penetrability into the coals showed similar trends with inertinite content.

The observed variations in inertinite porosity between coals from different coal regions and coal basins may explain why previous studies differ in their observations of the relationships between gas sorption behavior, permeability, porosity, and maceral composition. These variations are not simply a demarcation between Northern and Southern Hemisphere coals.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nanometre-sized pores in coal: Variations between coal basins and coal origin
Series title International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2017.11.010
Volume 186
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 126
Last page 134