An exploratory study of the structure and composition of furnace-ash deposits was carried out using optical metallography, electron microprobe analysis, scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. The results of these analyses were supplemented by studies of particulate melting temperatures using hot-stage microscopy to measure melting temperatures, and energy-dispersive X-ray analyses to measure composition of melted particles. It was found that the general structure of the ash deposit was a matrix of glassy, spherical particles having a wide range of compositions in which unfused particles containing iron oxide and calcium oxide were dispersed. At the imprint of the tube surface a considerable concentration of calcium, sulfur, and iron was found. Near the fused outer surface of the deposit, the glassy materials had melted into a porous, glassy slag containing spherical globules of iron oxide combined with other materials. There were no systematic compositional gradients from the tube surface to the fused outer layer except for the sulfur layer found only at the tube surface. However, there were significant differences in composition from particle to particle, and these differences were similar to those found in the coal mineral matter as isolated by low-temperature ashing. Single particles of low-temperature ash were found having low fusion temperatures, in the range of fusion temperatures for particles in furnace ash. Thus, the glassy spheres found in furnace deposits could originate from single coal particles, without the need for interactions among coal particles or ash particles.

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