CRAIC Technologies (San Dimas, CA) has unveiled a vitrinite reflectance measurement system, the 508 Coal, that is designed to determine the grade of coal and coke by vitrinite reflectance, information used to ensure that the coal blends used in energy generation are optimum and consistent from batch to batch.
The 508 Coal can also be used to acquire fluorescence and reflectance spectra of geological samples in order to more accurately grade them, and contains a Raman microspectroscopy instrument for petrographic analysis (determining mineral content as a function of position, such as "grains" of various materials). This ability to do spectroscopy is especially important as using spectroscopy gives a much higher level of discrimination than the measurement of single colors.
Vitrinite is a maceral (component) of coal and is composed of various polymers, cellulose, and lignin. Measuring the amount of light reflected by vitrinite macerals is a key test to determine the thermal maturity of the coal blend and its suitability for steel production. The procedure has been standardized by a number of international bodies, including both ISO and ASTM. All the standards require the use of a device designed to measure the intensity of light reflected from a microscopic sampling area—in other words, a microscope spectrophotometer such as the 508 Coal.
The procedure is straightforward: the instrument measures the amount of light reflected from samples from the coal blend at hundreds of points, after which a statistical analysis is done by the computer. The results of the statistical analysis are used to determine the amount of vitrinite in the coal blend, its thermal maturity, and as a result its value for coking.
As hundreds of measurements need to be done on each sample, this is conventionally a very time-consuming process. However, the 508 Coal automates this process to boost a lab's throughput and accuracy. The result of the analysis is a histogram from which the thermal maturity of the coal to be used in steel production can be determined.
For more info, see www.microspectra.com.
Source: CRAIC Technologies