Moisture retention and migration in a coal product stockpile
Le Roux, M.
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Most coal supply contracts include strict limitations on the moisture content of the products. This limitation exists because of calorific, transport cost, and handling reasons. Managing the retention time on product stockpiles to facilitate drainage commonly controls the moisture content in coarser coal products. A large-scale pilot rig has been commissioned to facilitate research in this regard. A stockpile of about 15 tonnes of a typical washed power station feed coal from the South African Witbank coalfield was loaded onto a 6 × 6 m platform on load cells. The platform was shielded from the elements, like rain and wind, and an artificial rain sprinkler system was installed. A variety of rainfall intensities and durations were simulated and the water accumulation and run-off was measured. The material was also sampled for moisture and particle size before and after the series of tests. At the same time, the drainage characteristics of the same coal were determined in smaller scale drainage columns for comparison. Data is presented in this paper on the drainage rates, maximum accumulated moisture, final moisture, and the effect of evaporation. The results showed that for all rainfall patterns tested, drainage ceased after 2-3 days, but evaporation continued for at least the time period under investigation, albeit at a low rate. Evaporation contributed to dewatering at rates that depended on wind, temperature and humidity conditions. This caused a slow reduction in moisture content even after the run-off had ceased. The value of the final moisture depended on the coal PSD. It was also found that the intensity and duration of the more intense rainfall events did not significantly affect the maximum water accumulation, with drainage rates equaling the corresponding water addition rates which suggested that water ran off over the surface of the stockpile with limited penetration. During more intense rainfall scenarios, some penetration was apparent
- Faculty of Engineering