Electron Spin Echo Spectroscopy: A Tool to Probe Structural Properties of Coals

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Electron spin echo (e.s.e.) spectroscopy has been used in these laboratories to investigate proton hyperfine interactions in whole coal, separated coal macerals, synthetic lignites and model materials comprising perylene radical ions adsorbed on alumina and silica-alumina catalysts. The e.s.e. technique provides information that is complementary to electron nuclear double resonance in studying such interactions in coal. Coupling constants measured so far in evacuated samples of Illinois No. 6 agree well with models for condensed ring aromatic structures. Analysis of the proton matrix interactions are best fitted by r = 0.75 ± 0.05 nm, Aiso = 0 and n = 40 protons. Matrix interactions from 13C nuclei also are seen. Coupling constants observed in a vitrain component separated from Illinois No. 6 coal are similar to those seen in the whole coal; the fact that the maceral does not exhibit all of the interactions found in whole coal suggests molecular structures to be specific to individual maceral types. Differences in the g-values of macerals may provide a direct, non-destructive route to the analysis of maceral-specific structure.


This paper was presented at the American Chemical Society Symposium ‘New Applications of Analytical Techniques to Fossil Fuels’, held at New York City, USA, April 1986.