Size Distribution of Fine Particles from Coal Combustion

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Science  01 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4528, pp. 13-19
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4528.13


Measurements of the particle size distribution at the outlets of six coal-fired utility boilers showed a peak at a particle diameter near 0.1 micrometer. This submicrometer mode appears to be a general feature of coal combustion that results from a volatilization-condensation process in the boiler. At the boilers tested, the submicrometer mode contained 0.2 to 2.2 percent of the total fly ash mass. The importance of this mode is greater than its small quantity suggests because particles in the submicrometer size range are often much more difficult to collect with conventional particulate control devices than larger particles. Thus, the submicrometer mode may significantly influence the design and selection of future power plant emission controls. The particle mass in the submicrometer mode was correlated with the nitric oxide concentration in the flue gas. This correlation suggests that control of nitric oxide by modification of the combustion conditions may reduce the generation and emission of submicrometer particles.