Direct determination of sulfur species in coals from the Argonne Premium Sample Program by solid sampling electrothermal vaporization inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry
A new direct solid sampling method for speciation of sulfur in coals by electrothermal vaporization inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ETV-ICP OES) is presented. On the basis of the controlled thermal decomposition of coal in an argon atmosphere, it is possible to determine the different sulfur species in addition to elemental sulfur in coals. For the assignment of the obtained peaks from the sulfur transient emission signal, several analytical techniques (reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction) were used. The developed direct solid sampling method enables a good accuracy (relative standard deviation <= 6%), precision and was applied to determine the sulfur forms in the Argonne premium coals, varying in rank. The generated method is time- and cost-effective and well suited for the fast characterization of sulfur species in coal. It can be automated to a large extent and is applicable for process-accompanying analyses.