Characterization of coal fines generation: a micro-scale investigation

Bai, Tianhang, Chen, Zhongwei, Aminossadati, Saiied M., Pan, Zhejun, Liu, Jishan and Li, Ling (2015) Characterization of coal fines generation: a micro-scale investigation. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 27 Part 2: 862-875. doi:10.1016/j.jngse.2015.09.043

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Author Bai, Tianhang
Chen, Zhongwei
Aminossadati, Saiied M.
Pan, Zhejun
Liu, Jishan
Li, Ling
Title Characterization of coal fines generation: a micro-scale investigation
Journal name Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1875-5100
Publication date 2015-11-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jngse.2015.09.043
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 27
Issue Part 2
Start page 862
End page 875
Total pages 14
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2102 Energy Engineering and Power Technology
Abstract Coal fines are commonly generated as by-product during coalbed methane production mainly due to the interaction of coal with inseam water flow. A portion of the created coal fines may settle and plug the coal cleats and hydraulic fractures due to the gravity and coal pore size constraint. This could result in the reduction of coal permeability and blockage of coalbed methane wells or gas drainage boreholes. Despite the increasing awareness of the importance of understanding coal fines, limited research has been carried out on the characterization of coal fines creation. This study aimed to numerically characterize the generation process of coal fines in micro-scale coal cleats. The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images for a coal sample from Bulli Seam of the Sydney Basin in Australia were obtained and analysed to determine the actual cleat geometries and the characteristics of coal fines distribution. Then a fully coupled fluid-structure numerical model was developed to identify the creation process of coal fines at micro-scale. The impact of pertinent production conditions on coal fines generation was studied, including production pressure drawdown, temperature, coal fines Young's modulus and strength. The SEM images revealed that the particle size distributions of the coal fines in the examined cleats were in the order of hundreds of nanometres to several microns. The results of the numerical studies showed the coal fines production increased with pressure build-up, and decreased with increasing coal fines strength with more sensitivity compared with pressure. Critical values for production pressure drawdown were obtained, above which failure area began to expand; threshold values were also determined, below which remarkable reduction of coal fines production was achieved. Coal cleat geometry plays an important role in determining coal fines production. It was noted that exposed microstructures, cleat elbow regions and micro-fracture tips are more likely to generate coal fines. Based on these findings, guidance can be provided on the control of production conditions to mitigate coal fines issue, and new insight into where and how coal fines are created by inseam water flow can be achieved. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keyword Coal fines generation
Microstructure characterization
Coal dewatering
Coalbed methane production
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 2013002812
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 04 Nov 2015, 23:43:45 EST by Zhongwei Chen on behalf of School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering