Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

First Advisor

James M. Grow

Second Advisor

Joseph W. Bozzelli

Third Advisor

Kebbekus, Barbara B.


Several coal ashes and prepared mixtures were analyzed by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Various techniques were studied to determine the most reliable procedure for quantitatively estimating, from fluorescent peak intensities, the concentrations of seven major oxides typically present in the ash. These ashes were analyzed with only minimal sample preparation. In order to determine the self-consistency of the procedure, several mixtures of known composition were prepared containing the major elements present in an ash.

Because of inter-element absorption and enhancement effects, several computational techniques were used to calculate composition from spectrum peak intensities. The method that yielded the most accurate estimates of the mixtures was an empirical form devised by Criss and Burkes.

Comparison of the estimated coal ash compositions by this procedure did not agree with results obtained by atomic absorption analysis. However, it is believed that this is not because of the x-ray fluorescence procedure applied; inconsistent ash sampling and preparation and improper standards are the probable causes.



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