Influence of elevated temperature and gas atmosphere on coke abrasion resistance. Part one: Pilot oven cokes

Publication Name



A novel approach was developed to examine coke abrasion resistance in-situ at temperatures of up to 950 °C and in a controlled gas atmosphere using rotational tribological testing. The originality of this approach lay in the ability to apply tribological testing to the porous coke surface at elevated temperatures under a controlled inert or CO2 reactive atmosphere. Coke wear characteristics were quantified via (i) the application of advanced microscopy and image analysis techniques, and (ii) analysis of the coefficient of friction (COF) during tribological testing. Two pilot oven cokes were examined in this study, which were generated from single coking coals of similar rank but different petrographic composition. The cokes tested showed a deterioration in abrasion resistance even at 400 °C, and this was accentuated at 950 °C. The COF and the severity of the wear as a function of temperature and gas atmosphere were markedly different between the two cokes. Coke C396 from a mid-to-low vol, medium vitrinite coal showed no statistically significant differences between the wear severity results recorded following room temperature testing and high temperature testing in a CO2 environment. Conversely, the more reactive coke C426 with a higher parent coal inertinite content showed clear differences in the extent of abrasive wear at room temperature and at high temperature in both inert and reactive gas atmospheres. This suggests that the reduction in abrasion resistance at elevated temperatures is accentuated in the coke with the highest coke reactivity index (CRI) and the highest content of inertinite maceral derived components (IMDC). Our research has shown that at room temperature, the IMDC show greater resistance to abrasion than the reactive maceral derived components (RMDC). This has implications for understanding the relevance of room temperature testing to the abrasion resistance of coke under practical blast furnace operation conditions. For example, a coke from a coal or blend with a comparatively high inertinite content may show lower resistance to abrasion in the blast furnace than would be expected from tumble drum indices. Larger sample numbers and cokes from a variety of single coals need to be tested in further work to verify these assertions. Finally, a novel method using micro-CT image analysis was developed to examine the wear path generated at the coke surface during tribological testing. The purpose of this was to assess the extent of the abrasive wear by comparing the rendered micro-CT images before and after tribological testing. A colour gradient scale was used to facilitate the quantitative assessment, whereby the colour of each voxel was based on the distance from the nearest voxel that is associated with solid phase. As expected, the specific surface area (SSA) calculated for the upper 1 mm of each sample decreased following tribological testing due to the generation of a wear track which is smoother than the initially rough, porous coke surface. In the C426 coke type examined, the SSA decreased the most for the sample tested in an argon atmosphere at 950 °C, matching the COF and quantified wear severity results, which showed there was a notable increase in abrasive wear to this coke as the temperature was raised from room to elevated temperature. Coupling this method of analysis with 3D visualisation techniques in further work would provide a powerful approach to examine and quantify mechanisms of coke surface breakage and the microstructural and/or microtextural features responsible for the breakage.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access



Article Number


Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program



Link to publisher version (DOI)