Technology Guides for Your Coal Mining Operations

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Technology Guides for Your Coal Mining Operations

A Gift of 4 Technology Guides for Your Coal Mining Operations
By Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane, Editor

“If you are involved in coal mining operations, you know that it takes many types of technology to ensure that production is optimized and the final product meets customer specifications. Here are four guides to some of the technologies used every day in coal mining, explained in an easy-to-understand manner:

PGNAA and PFTNA Analysis
Prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) and pulsed fast thermal neutron activation (PFTNA) are non-contact, non-destructive analytical techniques used in online analysis systems to determine the elemental composition of bulk raw materials. Both of these techniques are known collectively as neutron activation analysis and function by bombarding materials with neutrons. The neutrons interact with elements in the materials, which then emit secondary, prompt gamma rays that can be measured. The gamma-ray given off has a distinct energy associated with the atom from which it was released. In essence the gamma-ray emitted is like a “fingerprint” of the element. The emitted gamma-rays are detected and an energy spectrum generated which can then be analyzed for elemental composition. These technologies are used in coal blending and coal measurement.

XRF Technology
XRF (X-ray fluorescence) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials. XRF analyzers determine the chemistry of a sample by measuring the fluorescent (or secondary) X-ray emitted from a sample when it is excited by a primary X-ray source. Each of the elements present in a sample produces a set of characteristic fluorescent X-rays (“a fingerprint”) that is unique for that specific element, which is why XRF spectroscopy is an excellent technology for qualitative and quantitative analysis of material composition.
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology offers low limits of detection (LOD) for some elements, making it suitable for coal applications such as the quantification of major elements and using this data to calculate ash content of coal. As, Pb, and possibly S in some coal seams can be quantified by XRF. Hg and Se in coal are lower than their LOD by XRF.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES)
Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) is an elemental analysis technique that derives its analytical data from the emission spectra of elements excited within a high-temperature plasma.
During coal combustion, large amounts of ash are created along with carbon dioxide and other gases. The fine particle ash that rises up with the flue gases is known as fly or flue ash. The heavier ash that does not rise is called bottom ash. The chemical makeup of fly and bottom ash varies significantly and is dependent on the source and composition of the coal being burned.

TEOM technology
Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalances (TEOM) enables continuous direct mass measurements of particulates, including dust. Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis, more commonly known as CWP or black lung disease, is a devastating illness that can afflict anyone exposed to coal and crystalline silica dust. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) considers respirable coal dust to be one of the most serious occupational hazards in the mining industry. One can monitor real-time coal dust exposure with a respirable, personal dust monitor designed specifically for U.S. based mining applications, and designed to meet the latest requirements of the MSHA Dust Rule.

Coal might not be a great present during the holidays, but we hope that these technology guides for coal operations makes a good gift to our readers.”




Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

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