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Technical Market Support

Automatic Ash Fusion Test

Technical Market Support » Thermal Coal

Published: July 01Project Number: C9053

Get ReportAuthor: Lindsay Juniper, Glen Huber, John Saxby | Ultra-Systems Technology, CSIRO Energy Technology

This project has developed a prototype automatic ash fusion temperature measuring system (AAFT) that demonstrates that digital imaging techniques can automate and overcome the problems of the Standard system of measurement. Furthermore, the developed system is closely based on the current AFT Standard, not digressing in any fundamental features. The AAFT system could be offered to coal testing laboratories as a 'bolt-on' to existing AFT test furnaces so it should be fully acceptable to the coal industry and its customers.

The AAFT system consists of a video camera and associated equipment to capture digital images of the ash fusion pyramids as they are heated in the furnace. Software has been developed to allow these images to be digitally manipulated to recognise and report the four ash fusion temperature events (initial deformation, sphere, hemisphere and flow). Advantages of the AAFT include:

  • AFT event temperatures are examined in increments of 1?C.
  • It is estimated that repeatability when using the system, is expected to be lower than that of the AS Standard tolerances, with IDT at about 15?C and 10?C for ST, HT and FT.
  • The system removes variations in AFT measurements attributable to operator error and overcomes a number of operational problems.
  • Being an automatic system, the AAFT provides a number of opportunities for increasing the throughput and reducing the cost of AFT measurements.
  • There is a real possibility that the AAFT measurement could provide additional results comparable with previously developed thermo-mechanical analysis (TMA) measurements.

A plan for commercialisation of the AAFT system has been developed that will see the systems available to the industry in a short period of time.

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