Mechanical properties of coal have been determined in an effort to advance in situ coal gasification technology. Tests and apparatus were developed to evaluate the directional compressive and shear properties of coal at elevated temperatures. Both creep and stress-relaxation experiments were conducted to evaluate the creep compliance and stress-relaxation properties in compression and shear, at temperatures between 75° and 650°F (24° and 343°C), for the face cleat, butt cleat and normal to coalbed orientation, and four different specimen sizes. Stress-strain relations and ultimate strengths were also determined at three different loading rates for these directions and temperatures. A shift function was used to represent the creep and stress relaxation properties as functions of time and temperature. Four- and six-parameter viscoelastic fluid models were used to represent the data over the time-temperature ranges. Shallow and deep mine coal from the Pittsburgh coalbed was tested. The coal was found to have the greatest ultimate strength and elastic moduli at 200°F (93°C) in all directions in both compression and shear, and to be specimen size dependent. The ultimate strength in the normal to coalbed direction was approximately twice that in the face and butt cleat directions at all temperatures. At 575° to 650°F (302° – 343°C), the coal becomes fluidic and is well represented by a four-parameter fluid model. It also obeys the time-temperature superposition principle.

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