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- PublicationBreaking the limits of structural and mechanical imaging of the heterogeneous structure of coal maceralsThe correlation between local mechanical (elasto-plastic) and structural (composition) properties of coal presents significant fundamental and practical interest for coal processing and for the development of rheological models of coal to coke transformations. Here, we explore the relationship between the local structural, chemical composition, and mechanical properties of coal using a combination of confocal micro-Raman imaging and band excitation atomic force acoustic microscopy for a bituminous coal. This allows high resolution imaging (10s of nm) of mechanical properties of the heterogeneous (banded) architecture of coal and correlating them to the optical gap, average crystallite size, the bond-bending disorder of sp2 aromatic double bonds, and the defect density. This methodology allows the structural and mechanical properties of coal components (lithotypes, microlithotypes, and macerals) to be understood, and related to local chemical structure, potentially allowing for knowledge-based modeling and optimization of coal utilization processes.
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