Structural Characterization and Molecular Model Construction of High-Ash Coal from Northern China

BK Zhu and XS Dong and YP Fan and XM Ma and SL Yao and YP Fu and RX Chen and M Chang, MOLECULES, 28, 5593 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/molecules28145593

High-ash coal, also known as low-grade coal, has becomes a viable alternative in recent years to high-quality coal because available resources have become increasingly scarce due to extensive mining activity. This work aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the structural characteristics of high-ash coal and construct a plausible molecular structure to elucidate its chemical reactivity in future applications. Its properties were investigated using Solid-state C-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (C-13 NMR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The molecular structure was constructed and validated using Material Studio, LAMMPS Software Package, and MATLAB program. The characterization results revealed that high-ash coal contains 72.15% aromatic carbon, significantly surpassing the percentage of aliphatic carbon (27.85%). The ratio of bridgehead carbon to peripheral aromatic carbon was calculated as 0.67, indicating that the pentacene is the main carbon skeleton form in the high-ash coal structure. Furthermore, oxygen-containing functional groups presented as C=O/O-C-O, C-O, and COO- within the structure along with pyridine and pyrrolic structures. Consequently, the molecular structure comprises pentacene with aliphatic carbon chains, such as methylene, that connect the benzene rings and form a three-dimensional network. The results of a simulated IR spectrum and contact angle simulation aligned with the experimental results, validating the molecular structure of high-ash coal. The chemical formula for the high-ash coal model was determined as C203H189N7O61S with a molecular weight of 3734.79.

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