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Coal

Composition Of Coal

Coal is classified according to its heating value and according to its relative content of elemental carbon. For example, anthracite contains the highest proportion of pure carbon (about 86%-98%) and has the highest heat value—13,500–15,600 Btu/lb (British thermal units per pound)—of all forms of coal. Bituminous coal generally has lower concentrations of pure carbon (from 46% to 86%) and lower heat values (8,300–15,600 Btu/lb). Bituminous coals are often sub-divided on the basis of their heat value, being classified as low, medium, and high volatile bituminous and sub-bituminous. Lignite, the poorest of the true coals in terms of heat value (5,500-8,300 Btu/lb) generally contains about 46%-60% pure carbon. All forms of coal also contain other elements present in living organisms, such as sulfur and nitrogen, that are very low in absolute numbers, but that have important environmental consequences when coals are used as fuels.


Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to ConcupiscenceCoal - Origins Of Coal, Composition Of Coal, Properties And Reactions, Environmental Problems Associated With The Burning Of Coal