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November/December 2010

Testing Coal and Coke

Two ASTM Manuals Expand on D05 Standards

Train cars heaped high with coal regularly click by ASTM International headquarters on their way to plants that will, in turn, provide energy to power lights and boilers, and much more.

Along the way, coal producers and buyers need to know about the properties of the coal, such as moisture and ash content, and the presence of trace elements, all of which affect the performance of the fuel, and its cost as well.

More than 50 standard test methods from Committee D05 on Coal and Coke contribute to the analysis and characterization of the fossil fuel. In two manuals about these test method standards, D05 members Kishore Nadkarni, Ph.D., and John T. Riley, Ph.D., further the understanding of these standards.

Nadkarni, president of Millenium Analytics Inc., a consulting firm in East Brunswick, N.J., that specializes in fossil fuel analyses and quality management, wrote Manual 61, Guide to ASTM Test Methods for the Analysis of Coal and Coke, as a reference about the essential elements of tests used for coal, coke and their products. Manual 61 indexes the D05 methods by their alphanumeric designation, and it explains and summarizes each as well. The work also details the method’s precision and bias. Nadkarni organizes his text in alphabetical order by test type — arsenic and ash to volatile matter and washability (and everything in between) — and he also provides a table to locate individual standard tests by alphanumeric designation.

In Manual 57, Routine Coal and Coke Analysis, Collection, Interpretation and Use of Analytical Data, Riley outlines the more important procedures used for analyzing coal and coke. He writes that the manual is a collection of observations and notes over nearly three decades of work in coal science as an undergraduate and graduate professor, a researcher and a participant in standards development. Riley, professor emeritus at Western Kentucky University and now a consultant based in Bowling Green, Ky., discusses more than 35 standard methods, their use in industry and the significance of the data collected with the methods.

Laboratory personnel, engineers and researchers can use the information found in both of these manuals as they work on tests related to coal and coke.

When commemorating 100 years of service to the coal industry by Committee D05, L.C.G. Janke, J.A. Luppens and R. D. Graham wrote in the July 2004 issue of ASTM Standardization News, “Coal is what we take for granted every time we flip a switch.” But, as demand for energy increases, and coal production helps fill that demand, D05 tests will continue to be used to characterize the fuel.

And, in these two manuals by D05 members, laboratory personnel, engineers and researchers will have references with details about testing coal and coke before it powers a switch.