--> --> Thermally - Induced Fractures in Coal, Balingian Province, Sarawak, Malaysia

2018 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition

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Thermally - Induced Fractures in Coal, Balingian Province, Sarawak, Malaysia

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of thermal stress on the development of coal fractures. The samples were taken from Balingian province which represents highly volatile bituminous coal. SEM micrographs of coal showed fracture patterns that look like desiccation cracks. In almost all literature on coal, studies of coal fractures showed interest in fracture impact on coal properties, and the origin of such fractures offered less interest. Coal samples were air dried by evacuation and heated for different temperature ranges to investigate the thermo-mechanical behavior of such coals. Different petrographic and chemical characterization methods were used in coal characterization including thin sections, SEM, elemental mapping aided with EDX and FTIR method. Besides the development of existing fractures, new fractures developed, the developed fractures proved to directly correlate to temperature applied. The results obtained showed good link between coal petrography and coal thermal history. The study can be significant for improving the coal permeability through the artificial creation of new fractures and cleats using thermal methods.