Analytical Services

The CONSOL R&D Energy laboratory provides virtually all chemical, physical and empirical tests routinely used to define coal and coke quality.

The laboratory uses American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) methods exclusively with strict adherence to quality control.

The CONSOL R&D laboratory is a recognized leader in the coal and coke industries. Members of the staff are major contributors to ASTM coal and coke method development.

CONSOL R&D pioneered the use of many analytical techniques that have now become standard in the industry.

We have long maintained a leadership role within ASTM Committee D.05 on Coal & Coke. Our professionals have been the recipients of four R. A. Glenn awards, presented by the ASTM for outstanding contribution to the D.05 Coal and Coke Committee.

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Sample Collection and Preparation Proximate
Ultimate Sulfur
Heating Value Chlorine
Major Ash Elements Mercury
Trace Elements Fluorine

ASTM Methods for the Analysis of Fuels (Coal, Biomass…), Coke and Geologicals

Sample Collection and Preparation
ASTM D 2013 “ Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis”

Method Summary: This standard practice covers the reduction and division of gross or divided samples up to and including the individual portions used for laboratory analysis.

(Moisture, Volatile Matter, Ash, Fixed Carbon)
ASTM D 5142 “Proximate Analysis of the Analysis Sample of Coal and Coke by Instrumental Procedures”

Method Summary: Moisture, volatile matter and ash are determined sequentially in a single instrumental procedure by establishing the loss in mass of the analysis specimen when heated under rigidly controlled conditions of temperature, time, atmosphere and specimen mass.

(Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen)
ASTM D 5373 “Instrumental Determination of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen in Laboratory Samples of Coal and Coke”

Method Summary: Carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen are determined concurrently in a single instrumental procedure. The test method provides for the conversion of the subject elements in an oxygen stream in their entirety to carbon dioxide, water vapor and nitrogen oxides. Carbon dioxide and water vapor are determined by infrared detection at precise wavelengths on an aliquot of the combustion gases from which halides and sulfur oxides have been removed. Nitrogen is determined by thermal conductivity on a second aliquot additionally treated to reduce all nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and to remove residual oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor.

ASTM D 4239 “Sulfur in the Analysis Sample of Coal and Coke Using High-Temperature Combustion and Infrared Absorption”

Method Summary: The test specimen is heated in a tube furnace in a stream of oxygen to oxidize the sulfur to sulfur dioxide. The gas stream containing the sulfur dioxide is passed through a cell where it is measured at a precise wavelength by an infrared absorption detector.

Heating Value (Btu/lb)
ASTM D 5865 “Gross Calorific Value of Coal and Coke”

Method Summary: A weighed sample of coal is burned under controlled conditions in an oxygen bomb calorimeter. The higher heating value is calculated from the temperature rise of the water in the calorimeter vessel and the effective heat capacity of the system. Corrections are made for the heat released by the ignition of the fuse and the thermo chemical reactions forming nitric and sulfuric acids.

ASTM D 6721 “Determination of Chlorine by Oxidative Hydrolysis Microcoulometry”

Method Summary: A weighed sample is combusted with tungsten accelerator in a humidified oxygen gas flow, at 900 C. Halogens are oxidized and converted to hydrogenated halides, which are flushed into a titration cell where they accumulate. Chlorine is converted to hydrochloric acid. Once the chloride is captured in the electrolyte of the titration cell, it can be quantitatively determined by microcoulometry, where chloride ions react with silver ions present in the electrolyte. The silver ion thus consumed is coulometrically replaced and the total electrical work needed to replace it is proportional to the chloride in the test sample

Major Ash Elements:
(Si, Al, Ti, Fe, Mg, Ca, K, Na, P, S)
ASTM D 6349 “Determination of Major and Minor Elements in Coal, Coke, and Solid Residues from Combustion of Coal and Coke by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry”

Method Summary: The sample to be analyzed is ignited under controlled conditions to constant weight. The resulting ash is digested in a mixture of acids. Residues from coal combustion processes (fly ash, bottom ash, etc.) are normally digested on an as received moisture basis. The resulting solution is analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry.

ASTM D6722 “Determination of Mercury in Coal, Coke, and Solid Residues from Direct Combustion of Coal and Coke by High Temperature Combustion Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.(This method is analogous to EPA Method 7473).

Method Summary: The test specimen is heated in a tube furnace in a stream of oxygen. The gas stream containing the Hg vapor passes through a pre-packed portion of the combustion train where ash, moisture, halogens, and minerals are removed. The purified gas stream containing the Hg vapor then passes through an amalgamator tube containing gold-plated ceramic beads, which collect the Hg. When all the Hg has been collected, the amalgamator is heated releasing all the Hg vapor, which is then transported through a cuvette positioned in the path length of an atomic absorption spectrometer.

Trace Elements: (Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Pb, Mn, Mo, Ni, V, Zn)
ASTM D 6357 “Determination of Trace Elements in Coal and Combustion Residues from Coal Utilization Processes by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry”

Method Summary: The coal to be analyzed is ashed under controlled conditions that quantitatively retain the subject elements in the ash. The ash is digested in a mixture of aqua-regia and hydrofluoric acid, and finally dissolved in 1% nitric acid. Combustion residues are dig</p>ested on an as-received basis. The concentration of individual trace elements is determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). This method is applicable to the determination of other trace elements.

ASTM D 5987 “Total Fluorine in Coal by Pyrohydrolytic Extraction / Ion Chromatography”

Method Summary: A weighed portion of the test specimen is heated under controlled conditions of time and temperature in a tube furnace. Oxygen saturated with steam is passed over the heated test specimen. Fluorine extracted from the test specimen by this process is collected in an absorbing solution. ; The fluorine content in the absorbing solution is determined by ion chromatography.

ASTM D 5987/CONSOL R&D Standard Method

Method Summary: A weighed portion of the test specimen is subjected to the same pyrohydrolytic extraction described in ASTM D 5987. This process also quantitatively extracts selenium. The selenium content in the absorbing solution is determined by ICPMS.