Effects of measurement materials and oxygen partial pressure on the viscosity of synthetic eastern and western United States coal slags

Jingxi Zhu, Tetsuya Kenneth Kaneko, Haoyuan Mu, James P. Bennett, Seetharaman Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The viscosity of the molten ash (slag) resulting from the mineral constituents in carbon feedstock used in slagging gasifiers is critical for controlling the gasification process. The viscosity of two synthetic slags with compositions resembling the mineral impurities in average eastern and western coal feedstock was examined at temperatures from 1300-1500 °C using a rotating bob viscometer. A few combinations of atmospheres and experimental materials were investigated with respect to one another to determine slag viscosity. A CO/CO 2 atmosphere (CO/CO 2 = 1.8, corresponding to a PO 2 = 10 -8 atm) is required to sustain ferrous ions in FeO-containing slags, an environment that is oxidizing to most metals. Iron oxide in the slag prevents usage of Fe parts. In unpurified Ar, the Fe metal surface oxidizes. Using purified argon prevents iron measurement components from oxidation; however, the metallic surfaces act as nucleation sites for the reduction of the Fe oxide in the slag into metallic Fe. Dissolution of ceramic materials into the slag, including Al 2O 3 and ZrO 2, occurs in both atmospheres. Therefore, evaluating slag properties in the laboratory is challenging. The measured viscosities of two synthetic slags in this study diverged depending upon material selection. This difference is likely attributable to container/spindle-slag interactions. Viscosity measurements of the eastern coal slag using all ceramic parts agreed best with FactSage prediction above 1350 °C, with an average activation energy of 271.2 kJ. For western coal slag, the dissolution of container/spindle materials was substantial during the measurement, with precipitation of crystalline phase noted. The experimental viscosity data of the western coal slag agreed best with Kalmanovitch prediction above 1350 °C. The activation energy changed dramatically for both data sets of western coal slag, likely indicating the Newtonian-to-non-Newtonian transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4465-4474
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 19 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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