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Methods to Measure Quality of Charcoal

Methods to Measure the Quality of Charcoal


Generally speaking, we usually measure charcoal quality from five aspects: moisture content, volatile, ash content, fixed carbon content and calorific value. Here are some detail introductions:



1.      Moisture Content

Charcoal is a kind of substance with strong absorptivity, so in the process of storing, it will absorb the moisture in the air to increase its moisture content. Therefore, charcoal’s moisture content has little influence to the quality. The manufacturers usually require that the lower the moisture content, the better charcoal. In general, the moisture content of finished charcoal is always less than 3%.


2.      Volatile

The volatile of charcoal depends on the carbonization temperature. We can produce high temperature charcoal, medium temperature charcoal and low temperature charcoal according to various purposes. The CO, CO2, H2, CH4 and other gaseous carbohydrates emission when making low-temperature charcoal is 12-20%, while that of high-temperature charcoal is 5%.


3.      Ash Content

Ash content is the white or red materials after charcoal completely burns. It directly affects the application of charcoal and economic value. For example, straw and rice husk have high ash content and it has low temperature when burning, so it doesn’t suit for people’s life and industry. The ash content of charcoal is different with various carbonization technology and temperature. Generally speaking, under above same conditions, the ash content of charcoal made by broad-leaved forest is higher than charcoal made by coniferous forest. The ash content of charcoal is usually between 1% and 4%.


4.      Fixed Carbon Content

The fixed carbon content of charcoal will change with the raw material and carbonization temperature. Generally speaking, compared with poplar and candlenut with small density, under the same carbonization temperature, hard wood has higher carbon content than those wood materials. The same raw material has high carbon content in high temperature carbonization than low temperature carbonization.

Usually the carbon content of charcoal is less than 75%. Take pine as an example, when the carbonization temperature reaches 380, the carbon content is 76%; when the carbonization temperature is 500, the carbon content is 85% and when the temperature is 600-700, the carbon content is 92%.


5.      Calorific Value

Charcoal calorific value has direct relation with carbonization temperature and holding time.  In the same carbonization temperature and heat preservation time conditions, different raw materials’ calorific value is not the same. If the carbonization temperature is high and holding time is long, then the carbon content is high and the calorific value is also high.

When the temperature is less than 450, the calorific value of charcoal made by wood wastes is between 6500 and 7000 kilocalorie per KG; that of charcoal made by rice husk and straw is about 6000 kilocalorie. When the temperature is more than 6000, the calorific value of charcoal made by above materials will increases by 500-1000 kilocalorie.






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