Viscosity determination of molten ash from low-grade US coals

Jingxi Zhu, Jinichiro Nakano, Tetsuya Kenneth Kaneko, Haoyuan Mu, James P. Bennett, Kyei Sing Kwong, Peter Rozelle, Seetharaman Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In entrained slagging gasifiers, the fluidity of the molten ash is a critical factor for process control since it affects slag formation, the capture of inorganic constituents, refractory wear, and slag drainage along the gasification chamber walls. The use of western coal, or mixtures of eastern and western coals as gasifier feedstock, is likely to occur as western coals become available and technological issues that hinder their use are being resolved. In the present work, the viscosity of synthetic slags with ash chemistries simulating the western U.S. coals, was experimentally measured at a Po 2 = 10-8 atm in the temperature range of 1773-1573 K (1500-1300 °C) using a rotating-bob viscometer. Alumina spindles and containment crucibles of both alumina and zirconia were used. Crystallization studies of this slag using a confocal scanning laser microscope found that a (Mg,Fe)Al 2O4-based spinel precipitated at temperatures below 1723 K (1450 °C), and this agreed with FactSage equilibrium phase prediction. The same spinels were observed in the post-viscometry experiment slags when ZrO 2 crucibles were used and assumed to be in equilibrium with the slag at the higher temperatures. Zirconia dissolution resulted in a slight increase in the solid fraction present in slags at lower temperatures, compared to spinel fraction. Crystal precipitation changed the apparent activation energy and required a longer stabilization times for viscosity measurements. The viscosity results were used in predictive equations based on Veytsman and Einstein's models, with critical nucleation temperatures and the solid fraction calculated with FactSage. In the simulated eastern/western coal feedstock blends based on ash compositions, the fractions of the solid precipitates were also calculated using the thermodynamic program FactSage for each blend composition, and the plastic viscosity of each eastern/western coal slag blend was predicted using Veytsman's model and compared to available experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalHigh Temperature Materials and Processes
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coal gasifier
  • Crystallization
  • Plastic viscosity
  • Slag
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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