Definition: Bituminous coal
A dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material, used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke; contains 45-86% carbon.
- Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than anthracite. Formation is usually the result of high pressure being exerted on lignite. Its coloration can be black or sometimes dark brown; often there are well-defined bands of bright and dull material within the seams. These distinctive sequences, which are classified according to either "dull, bright-banded" or "bright, dull-banded", is how bituminous coals are stratigraphically identified.Bituminous coal is an organic sedimentary rock formed by diagenetic and sub metamorphic compression of peat bog material. Its primary constituents are macerals: vitrinite, and liptinite. The carbon content of bituminous coal is around 60-80%; the rest is composed of water, air, hydrogen, and sulphur, which have not been driven off from the macerals. Bank density is approximately 1346 kg/m³ (84 lb/ft³). Bulk density typically runs to 833 kg/m³ (52 lb/ft³). The heat content of bituminous coal ranges from 24 to 35 MJ/kg (21 million to 30 million BTU per short ton) on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis.Within the coal mining industry, this type of coal is known for releasing the largest amounts of firedamp, a dangerous mixture of gases that can cause underground explosions. Extraction of bituminous coal demands the highest safety procedures involving attentive gas monitoring, good ventilation and vigilant site management.