to combine with its oxygen to form water, is known as “disposable” hydrogen, and is a measure of the fitness of the coal for use in gas-making. This excess is greatest in what is known as cannel coal, the Lancashire kennel or candle coal, so named from the bright light it gives out when burning. Gas coal.This, although of very small value as fuel, commands a specially high price for gas-making. Cannel is more compact and duller than ordinary coal, and can be wrought in the lathe and polished.
Table I.—Elementary Composition of Coal (the figures denote the amounts per cent).
calculated exclusive of
Water, Sulphur and Ash.
|Carbon.||Hydrogen.||Oxygen.||Nitrogen.||Sulphur.||Ash.||Water.||Carbon.||Hydrogen.||O. and N.|
|1. South Wales||1.392||90.39||3.28||2.98||0.83||0.91||1.61||2.00||93.54||3.39||3.82|
|Bituminous Steam and
|4. Risca, South Wales||..||75.49||4.73||6.78||1.21||10.67||1.12||86.78||5.43||7.79|
|5. Aberdare, South Wales||..||86.80||4.25||3.06||0.83||4.40||0.66||92.24||4.51||3.25|
|6. Hartley, Northumberl’d||..||78.65||4.65||13.36||0.55||2.49||..||80.67||4.76||14.5|
|7. Dudley, Staffordshire||1.278||78.57||5.29||12.88||1.84||0.39||1.03||1.13||79.70||5.37||14.9|
|8. Stranitzen, Styria||..||79.90||4.85||12.75||0.64||0.20||1.66||..||81.45||4.92||13.63|
|Cannel or Gas Coal.|
|9. Wigan, Lancashire||1.276||80.07||5.53||8.08||2.12||1.50||2.70||0.91||85.48||5.90||8.62|
|10. Boghead, Scotland||..||63.10||8.91||7.25||0.96||19.78||..||79.61||11.24||9.15|
|11. (Albertite) Nova Scotia||..||82.67||9.14||8.19||..||..||..||82.67||9.14||8.19|
|12. (Tasmanite) Tasmania||1.18||79.34||10.41||4.93||5.32||..||..||83.80||10.99||5.21|
|Lignite and Brown Coal.|
|14. Bovey Tracy, Devonshire||..||66.31||5.63||22.86||0.57||2.36||2.36||..||69.53||5.90||24.57|
|15. Trifail, Styria||..||50.72||5.34||33.18||2.80||0.90||7.86||..||55.11||5.80||39.09|
These properties are most highly developed in the substance known as jet, which is a variety of cannel found in the lower oolitic strata of Yorkshire, and is almost entirely used for ornamental purposes, the whole quantity produced near Whitby, together with a further supply from Spain, being manufactured into articles of jewellery at that town.
When coal is heated to redness out of contact with the air, the more volatile constituents, water, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are in great part expelled, a portion of the carbon being also volatilized in the form of hydrocarbons and carbonic oxide,—the greater part, however, remaining behind,Caking coals. together with all the mineral matter or ash, in the form of coke, or, as it is also called, “fixed carbon.” The proportion of this residue is greatest in the more anthracitic or drier coals, but a more valuable product is yielded by those richer in hydrogen. Very important distinctions—those of caking or non-caking—are founded on the behaviour of coals when subjected to the process of coking. The former class undergo an incipient fusion or softening when heated, so that the fragments coalesce and yield a compact coke, while the latter (also called free-burning) preserve their form, producing a coke which is only serviceable when made from large pieces of coal, the smaller pieces being incoherent and of no value. The caking property is best developed in coals low in oxygen with 25 to 30% of volatile matters. As a matter of experience, it is found that caking coals lose that property when exposed to the action of the air for a lengthened period, or by heating to about 300° C., and that the dust or slack of non-caking coal may, in some instances, be converted into a coherent coke by exposing it suddenly to a very high temperature, or compressing it strongly before charging it into the oven.
Lignite or brown coal includes all varieties which are intermediate in properties between wood and coals of the older formations. A coal of this kind is generally to be distinguished by its brown colour, either in mass or in the blacker varieties in the streak. The proportion of carbon isLignite. comparatively low, usually not exceeding 70%, while the oxygen and hygroscopic water are much higher than in true coals. The property of caking or yielding a coherent coke is usually absent, and the ash is often very high. The specific gravity is low when not brought up by an excessive amount of earthy matter. Sometimes it is almost pasty, and crumbles to powder when dried, so as to be susceptible of use as a pigment, forming the colour known as Cologne earth, which resembles umber or sepia. In Nassau and Bavaria woody structure is very common, and it is from this circumstance that the term lignite is derived. The best varieties are black and pitchy in lustre, or even bright and scarcely to be distinguished from true coals. These kinds are most common in Eastern Europe. Lignites, as a rule, are generally found in strata of a newer geological age, but there are many instances of perfect coals being found in such strata.
By the term “ash” is understood the mineral matter remaining unconsumed after the complete combustion of the carbonaceous portion of a coal. According to Couriot (Annales de la société géologique de Belgique, vol. xxiii. p. 105) the stratified character of the ash may be renderedAsh of coal. apparent in an X-ray photograph of a piece of coal about an inch thick, when it appears in thin parallel bands, the combustible portion remaining transparent. It may also be rendered visible if a smooth block of free-burning coal is allowed to burn away quickly in an open fire, when the ash remains in thin grey or yellow bands on the surface of the block. The composition of the ashes of different coals is subject to considerable variation, as will be seen by Table II.
The composition of the ash of true coal approximates to that of a fire-clay, allowance being made for lime, which may be present either as carbonate or sulphate, and for sulphuric acid. Sulphur is derived mainly from iron pyrites, which yields sulphates by combustion. An indicationSulphur in coal. of the character of the ash of a coal is afforded by its colour, white ash coals being generally freer from sulphur than those containing iron pyrites, which yield a red ash. There are, however, several striking exceptions, as for instance in the anthracite from Peru, given in Table I., which contains more than 10% of sulphur, and yields but a very small percentage of a white ash. In this coal, as well as in the lignite of Tasmania, known as white coal or Tasmanite, the sulphur occurs in organic combination, but is so firmly held that it can only be very partially expelled, even by exposure to a very high and continued heating out of contact with the air. An anthracite occurring in connexion with the old volcanic rocks of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, which contains a large amount of sulphur in proportion to the