Coal Geology & Exploration


During the development process of coalbed methane, the aggregation and sedimentation of coal fines can block the migration channel of coalbed methane and lead to accidents such as stuck pump and buried pump. In order to find out the aggregation and sedimentation characteristics of coal fines with different particle sizes, the aggregation and sedimentation experiments of coal fines with the particle size>140 mesh(<106 μm), 70 to 140 mesh(106-212 μm) and 50 to 70 mesh(212-300 μm) in deionized water were carried out. The aggregation and sedimentation characteristics of coal fines with different particle sizes in deionized water suspension were investigated from the suspension observation, the concentration characteristics of coal fines and the particle size distribution of coal fines in suspension. The results show that with the increase of the time, the color of coal fines suspension becomes lighter to different degrees, and the stratification of coal fines suspension gradually appears, and the suspension of coal fines with the particle size more than 140 mesh was the first to stratify among three suspensions. The smaller the particle sizes of coal fines, the more coal fines float on the top of the suspension, and the larger the particle sizes of coal fines, the more coal fines sink to the bottom of the suspension. The concentration of coal fines in the suspensions decreased to different degrees with the increase of the time. The concentration of coal fines decreased the fastest within 3 minutes after stopping the stirring. The concentration of coal fines with the particle sizes of 70 to 140 mesh in suspension was the largest among three suspensions. According to the particle size distribution curves, the process of aggregation and sedimentation of coal fines was divided into three stages: single peak to double peak(rapid floating and settlement of coal fines), double peak to single peak(rapid accumulation and settlement of coal fines) and single peak(slow sedimentation of coal fines). Coal fines with particle size more than 140 mesh in the suspension was the first to reach the stage of slow sedimentation, and coal fines with particle size of 70-140 mesh in the suspension reached the stage of slow sedimentation at the latest among three suspensions. The mechanism of aggregation and sedimentation of coal fines was discussed from the aspects of the force of coal fines, the extended DLVO theory, and the organic molecular structure of coal fines. The coal samples contain a large number of hydrophobic groups, such as aliphatic hydrocarbon and aromatic hydrocarbon, therefore, they have strong hydrophobicity and low wettability. With the decrease of particle sizes of coal fines, its specific surface area increases significantly, and a large amount of air is absorbed on the surface of coal fines, forming an air film. At the same time, particles of coal fines are adsorbed and aggregated with each other, and many micro pores are formed inside, resulting in that coal fines with small particle size is easy to aggregate and float on the suspension surface.


CBM, coal fines, particle sizes, aggregation, sedimentation, suspention liquid




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