QUANTITATIVE INORGANIC PROFILING OF COAL SEAMS USING CORE-SCANNING XRF TECHNIQUES
Calibration curves were prepared for key major elements (Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Ti and Fe) based on pressed pellets of independently-analysed reference coals. The calibrated XRF data were used to produce a set of quantitative element and element-oxide profiles, and these were plotted alongside the relevant X-radiograph and optical image to provide an integrated basis for assessing the variations in inorganic element characteristics through the core. The results were also compared to conventionally-determined chemical and mineralogical data for a representative core, to confirm the validity of the quantifications developed.
Although Na and Mg were below detection limits and could not be measured, the sum of the other major elements, expressed as oxides, was found to be approximately the same as the ash yield of the coal. It was also inversely related to the level of Compton backscatter from the coal measured by the core scanner, allowing correlation with the parameter commonly used in down-hole geophysical (density) logging as an indicator of coal quality and ash yield.
The capacity of hand-held portable XRF analyzers to provide similar data on coal cores is also being investigated, including separate calibration tests and comparative studies against the laboratory core-scanning system.