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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


BOTHA, D.L.; LEOKAOKE, N.T.; BUNT, J. R.  and  NEOMAGUS, H.W.J.P.. Evaluation of polymer binders in briquetting of coal fines for combustion applications. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2021, vol.121, n.3, pp.113-118. ISSN 2411-9717.

Coal briquetting traditionally makes use of high-dosage, nonpolymeric binders (such as coal tar pitch or molasses) or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) at low dosages for the binding of fine and ultrafine coal. Due to constraints associated with the manufacturing and cost of PVA-bound briquettes, a novel polyacrylic binder was developed that could possibly be added in low dosages at room temperature. A set of formulations of two polyacrylic components (components A and B) was developed, from which an optimal binder mixture was determined. This formulation comprises 40wt.% component A and 10wt.% component B with a 0.04wt.% cross-linking additive, and the balance water. The uniaxial briquette compressive strength was used to obtain the optimal binder mixture. The binder mixture was added to the coal powder in dosages from 0.1 to 1.2wt.%. Mechanical tests and thermogravimetric analysis in an oxidized environment at a maximum temperature of 930°C were conducted. Binder-bound briquettes were compared to binderless briquettes and PVA-bound briquettes. Briquettes made from the polyacrylic formulation had uniaxial compressive strengths double that of the binderless briquette yield strength, as well as the minimum recommended compressive strength of 0.375 MPa. The organic binders did not affect the combustion of the briquettes, since the results compared well with the binderless briquettes. The polyacrylic formulation is considered to be a possible substitute for PVA in terms of mechanical and thermal properties and raw material cost.

Keywords : briquettes; fine coal; polymer binders; polyvinyl alcohol; combustion.

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