Arshad Parvez

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

John Riley, John Reasoner, Rita Hessley

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


The self-heating of coal is a serious problem that has always affected the coal industry. Self-heating has been studied around the world for more than 100 years by many investigators, yet no accurate method of predicting self-heating in coal has been developed.

The objective of this research was to investigate the factors contributing to the self-heating in coal and to develop methods to predict the self-heating in coal and to develop methods to predict the self-heating susceptibility of various coals. A data bank containing analytical data, transportation histories, and results from laboratory tests was established at Western Kentucky University. A laboratory test that gave very encouraging results is an extraction test using sodium hydroxide solutions. Absorbances of the extract solutions from 15 coal samples obtained from barges of coal shipped from the Illinois Basin coal fields to the New Orleans area compared very well with the incidences of self-heating in the 15 barges. The fact that these coals were shipped in the summer when conditions are more favorable for self-heating to take place may have led to the strong correlation of the alkali extract solution absorbances and the final temperatures of the coal in the barges. Tests with coal samples obtained from barges shipped in the other seasons of the year did not yield very good correlations. The poor correlation between self-heating and the alkali extraction test absorbances was due to the lack of accurate temperature data, since the temperature of the coal at the time of loading was not available. The correlation of the absorbances of the extract solutions with parameters such as Btu/lb, oxygen, sulfate sulfur, and free-swelling index was very good.


Chemistry | Organic Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics