Talk:Coke (fuel)

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OSHA vs NIOSH levels[edit]

If the legal limit by OSHA is .150 mg/mmm, how can NIOSH say .2 is recommended? Wouldn't the legal limit being smaller prevent .2 from ever being legally reached? Or do I just not understand this measure correctly? ~ RETheUgly (sorry, not logged in) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:43, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

See the article for Recommended exposure limit; it's essentially a recommendation for OSHA to consider when establishing PELs. In this case, they apparently didn't consider it strict enough (assuming the article information is correct... I didn't check). --Junkyardsparkle (talk) 19:50, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

References to photos[edit]

Intro -- can't just say "upper photograph" and "lower photograph" -- the text needs to be readable independent of illustrations, and editing of article may change orientation of photos versus flow of text.

If images are essential to text description, can do:

' (See illustration 1.1.) '


' ... as shown in illustration "Coke production" at upper left ... '

(with photos labeled accordingly).

But normally for Wikipedia, an essential image would be in the main text column (a chart for example), and images in the right column serve as non-essential illustrations, explained independently by their captions./ —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC).


whats the basis for the history section? i have a strong source that contends that coke was first used in postclassical china. Snail Doom 02:41, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I just added two sentences about Chinese coke use. My source may be the same as yours - why did you not edit the entry using your source? -- (talk) 18:17, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

The article on the history of iron working mentions the following "However, by this time the Chinese had figured out how to use bituminous coke to replace the use of charcoal, and with this switch in resources many acres of prime timberland in China were spared.[38] This switch in resources from charcoal to coal was pioneered in Roman Britain by the 2nd century AD, although it was also practised in the continental Rhineland at the time.[39]" ( )

Within context, the quote appears to contradict that coke was first used in China. (talk) 19:07, 21 October 2010 (UTC)


This article gets too technical too quickly. The information needs to be put in a more sensible order, with the less technical stuff at the beginning of the article, or of individual sections. Maybe I'll get round to doing this myself.--Publunch (talk) 07:51, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I cant follow it. Someone with more knowledge than me needs to write, in Plain English, why Coke is/was developed from coal, and what its advantages and uses were, and maybe how much coal is/was used for this purpose. A simple list of the by-products of this process would be great. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:46, 11 June 2009 (UTC).

I agree with the idea of including a more plain-english explanation of the product, history, and significance of coke towards the beginning of the article. I know one good source for such information is the television series Connections by James Burke. I'm looking for a copy of this, or a transcript to use in my editing. -Verdatum (talk) 22:44, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Poor details on coke as "fuel"[edit]

This and other related articles mention that coke is "used as a fuel." But there are absolutely no details given. WHAT is it used to fuel? When is it used as a fuel instead of other types of coal? How much is used per year? What industries and which countries use the most coke for fuel? These and all other details seem to be omitted. In an article entitled "coke(fuel)," one would hope to read about how and when coke is used as a fuel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

There is no mention of coke as a domestic fuel. In my middle-class childhood in the 1950s/1960s we had a coke heater - they were moderately common in our Australian (Victorian) country town. I believe this is also true of UK, at least in parts. (talk) 07:17, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Agree. Still not mentioned in the lede. And nothing in he lede about steel!? For example: Crucible steel.
"The lead serves both as an introduction to the article and as a summary of its most important aspects. The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—..." Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lead section)
-- (talk) 15:25, 21 January 2012 (UTC)Doug Bashford

Agree. I came here looking for info on coke combustion temps when used as domestic heating fuel. Apparently one needs stoves that tolerate a higher temp than wood burning because coke can melt the iron stove itself (source: norwegian wikipedia article on coke). Looking for info on domestic coke-burning ovens/stoves. (talk) 07:59, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Agree there should be more on the brief (at least in the UK) domestic importance of coke. My parent's first house, a new bungalow built about 1937, was heated by the usual open coal fires but the hot water was supplied by a coke-fired boiler. The coal bunker was a brick-built part of the house but low external bunkers, with hinged lids, held the coke. When I was very small (mid-1940s) our garden path was formed from burnt coke, later replaced by concrete.TSRL (talk) 22:30, 21 July 2021 (UTC)


A citation is needed for the claim that coke was used to make malt in 1642. And frankly, I'd be surprised (though delighted) if one can be found. Zythophile (talk) 12:51, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Easily pleased, then! --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:45, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately the source cited for the 1642 claim for coke being used to make malt does not itself cite a source, and does not, in fact, mention Derbyshire. There is a better source as mentioned here, but that's my original research so … Zythophile (talk) 05:29, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

== Chem expert? ==

I'm not sure why this article needs an expert in chemistry. I would consider myself an expert in some aspects of chemistry, but, like most chemists, I don't specialize in coke production. The production sections seems to read fine, but I don't know the details about coke production.

On a separate note, I do hope that someone who knows more about coke could expand this article. I read it because I wanted to know about the burning properties of coke as compared to coal or charcoal. What temperature does it burn at? All this article says is that it can burn without producing smoke, but I was under the impression that it also burned at a higher temperature than coal. Also, are there any other ways of making coke? I had heard that blacksmiths had other methods of converting coal into coke in order to achieve higher temperatures. Does anyone know? Lastly, is the history correct? I would have thought that coke had been used much earlier. --El Zarco 11:46, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Simplify intro[edit]

You can tell this was written by an expert, that is, someone who will get nothing across to a novice. And who is looking up coke? Not an expert! The content in the body is fine, but the intro would intimidate a novice. "derived from"!, how about "made from"? You can derive it later in the body of the article. I have a degree in engineering (mechanical), and it blew me away. I started trying to simplify, but gave up.

The intro should mention that it's made from coal and it's primary use, which is iron smelting (I think). Pb8bije6a7b6a3w (talk) 03:02, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Other processes[edit]

The Other processes section references petroleum coke having use in the manufacture of dry cells and electrodes which are not substantiated on the pages referenced. Can the author provide reference to disambiguate the contribution? I would question whether the contribution is appropriate on the Carbon Coke page as it would be more appropriate on the petroleum coke page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fuzzytek (talkcontribs) 03:42, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Dwindling Forests[edit]

I've removed the much repeated myth that it was 'dwindling forests' caused by their conversion to charcoal that started the move to coal. The coppicing of woodland for charcoal and other purposes is a totally sustainable method of woodland management. The truth is that most of the woodland in England was already under rotation coppice, and the supply of cut material simply couldn't meet the increased demand, because of the time it takes for the wood to regrow. No wood was ever destroyed by coppicing or felling - it will just grow back, unless steps are taken (such as grazing it) to stop the regeneration. Stub Mandrel (talk) 18:50, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

What you say is true, but it's also true that increasing demand for iron put pressure on charcoal production - it was becoming difficult to produce charcoal in the quantities required. This encouraged ironmasters to search for and adopt alternative techniques. --Ef80 (talk) 13:03, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

Metallurgical coal[edit]

I wanted to look up the term "metallurgical coal" in Wikipedia. The coal article suggests either that coke is a derivative of metallurgical coal or that it is the same thing (not clear on the interpretation). Question is if a metallurgical coal redirect page were to be created, where should it point? JanCeuleers (talk) 16:16, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

To a section within coal. Metallurgical coal is coal, as dug, but it's a particular grade from particular locations. Mostly this is about being low in sulphur. For some uses it's used as-is, for others it's coked first. The Coalbrookdale era is where this distinction starts to be important. There's a notee in Resolution (beam engine) about the Darbys switching to buying two grades of coal, metallurgical and general boiler coal, to save 600 tons of the good stuff. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:40, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

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Crushing Strength[edit]

"In 1709, Abraham Darby I established a coke-fired blast furnace to produce cast iron. Coke's superior crushing strength allowed blast furnaces to become taller and larger." ?? What does that mean? Were other materials being crushed in tall vessels?Longinus876 (talk) 11:50, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

Darby didn't switch to coke because of its strength, but rather because coal and coal-based fuels were cheaper than charcoal, and a shortage of timber was making charcoal difficult to obtain, thus expensive and costing more to ship in from further away.
However once he'd used coke, he found that the extra crush strength allowed the blast furnace to be rebuilt taller and to contain a larger single charge. As this long pre-dated George Parry's invention of the cup-and-cone top seal (around 1850) continuous charging of a blast furnace wasn't yet so practical and Darby's early blast furnace was run from its single initial loading, not continuously. Thus a larger furnace can produce more iron per charging. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:27, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

Carbon, few impurities[edit]

@Andy Dingley: Re Special:Diff/838312569 and undo Special:Diff/838323167. We're discussing the alternative sentences:

  • Coke is a fuel with few impurities and a high carbon content, usually made from coal.
  • Coke is a fuel with a high carbon content and few impurities, usually made from coal.

Obviously, they're the same words and concepts, just in a different order. But to me, the former is confusing to read. "Impurities" relative to what? Is carbon an impurity? Saying what it is before adding restrictions seems to make a whole lot of sense. "Carbon, and not much else" makes sense. "Not much else, and carbon" is far more awkward. "Not much besides carbon" goes back to making sense, but it needs a more specialized linking word than "and".

As you say, an important distinguishing property is the low impurities. But the same is true of distilled water, silicon wafers, quartz crystals, absolute ethanol, and more. Coke is amorphous carbon with few impurities. I really think presenting it in that order makes for a more legible article.

May we discuss alternative phrasings here? Perhaps a more aggressive rewording:

  • Coke is a carbon fuel with few impurities, usually made from coal. (talk) 13:30, 26 April 2018 (UTC)

You have a point in that the first one isn't clear. I think the problem is lack of context. If this was instead two sentences (or two clauses and a semicolon) it could begin, "Coke is a fuel derived from coal. It has few impurities and is high in carbon."
There's also the issue that it's "common knowledge" that coke was developed to produce gas for street lighting (i.e. the purpose of coking was to extract the volatiles as a gas, leaving solid coke as a residue). Except that it wasn't - coke's historical development was to make a low-impurities furnace fuel, by a process analogous to charcoal burning. For a long period, it was the gas that was a waste product.
This lead should convey three things as concisely and as soon as possible:
  • It's produced from coal
  • It has little in the way of impurities (and this was behind its use in furnaces)
  • It is produced as part of gas manufacture (but that this came later)
If we've already stated that it's from coal, I think the "high in carbon" aspect is very minor, as it's almost implicit. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:00, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley: "I think the "high in carbon" aspect is very minor, as it's almost implicit." It may be if you know what coke is, but I remember not knowing (other than being clear from context that the term wasn't referring to Coca-cola or cocaine), and to someone that ignorant of the subject, saying that it's lumps of carbon is really important.
"high in" carbon is probably a silly thing to say; simpler just to say that it is carbon, made by removing impurities from coal. How about:
  • "Coke is a carbon fuel, made by removing impurities from coal.
When you say "It is produced as part of gas manufacture", is that mentioned anywhere in the existing article? It's a feedstock for producer gas production, but that consumes coke rather than producing it. (talk) 17:32, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley: As this conversation has stalled, I went and re-did the edit to give things a nudge. (I think we can both agree the wording change is minor enough that WP:DDWIP doesn't apply.) (talk) 06:23, 3 May 2018 (UTC)

Coke in heat shield ... not true[edit]

"Discovered by accident to have superior heat shielding properties ..."

I don't believe that the part about coal coke being used in Apollo ablator material is true. At the very least it's unsupported. I've checked the references and none mention using coal coke in the ablative material. The most detailed description of NASA TN D-7564, which says, "The ablative material selected for the TPS is designated Avco 5026-39G and consists of an epoxy-novalac resin reinforced with quartz fibers and phenolic microballoons. "

I therefore conclude that the assertion contained in the article is incorrect, and I am removing this false fact. If someone has evidence the the contrary please provide it and reverse my deletion.

Pgramsey (talk) 13:30, 18 September 2018 (UTC)

  • We ought to have a whole article or two on heatshields.
"Coke" is the core of most ablative heatshields since the 1950s. Although it's not the same thing as that coked from coal. It was developed by the British (see the Black Knight program) as a lighter weight heatshield for ICBM RVs, based on phenolic resins around carbon fibres. When heated, this forms a coke layer which has low thermal conductivity, is highly refractory and acts as an ablative heatshield. Many versions of this have been produced since, Avcoat here being one of them, but using glass fibres and a cheaper manufaturing process that's more easily applied to large areas. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:13, 18 September 2018 (UTC)

Right. I've heard of "coke" on the ablator, but it's not coke made from coal being added to the ablative material, it's a consequence of the ablative material being burned. So I stick to my original assertion: coke from coal is not a component of Avco 5026-39G, so the paragraph should be removed since it is not true.

I'm not an ablator guy, I work the other end of the temperature spectrum. But I'm pretty sure I'm right on this one.

Pgramsey (talk) 02:56, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

But it's still coke. This is a term in materials science, with a recognised meaning, and the material here falls under it. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:12, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

"Uses" Section has an incorrect chemical reaction[edit]

The "Uses" section supplies the chemical reaction for the reduction of iron oxide by carbon monoxide in a blast furnace as:

While this equation is correctly balanced and is the correct chemical reaction for the reduction of iron oxide via charcoal in a bloom oven it is not the right reaction for the reduction of iron oxide in a blast furnace, which relies on carbon monoxide for reduction not carbon proper.

The correct reaction should be: (talk) 18:57, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
Agreed, although I'd prefer to see it as a two stage reaction and shown in full. Carbon and oxygen are supplied to the blast furnace as inputs, only a little carbon monoxide is recirculated. Most (almost all) of it comes from combustion and that takes place within the blast furnace, even if it's a separate reaction. The reader's understanding would be better if we clarified that two reactions are taking place (and it would be useful to show the energy released from the burning of the coke too). Andy Dingley (talk) 19:18, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

Conversion of units in rough estimates[edit]

In the History of British coke production, the paragraph that begins "In 1802, a battery of beehives..." a series of output estimates is stated in long tons, then parenthetically converted to the nearly equal figures in short tons and tons/tonnes. I think that those conversions should all be deleted. The figures are nearly equal to each other, are not necessary and impede the flow of the text. An historical figure of 7 million tons is quite rough, I expect accurate to no more than two significant figures. To give parenthetically the equivalent in short tons introduces false precision, like saying a shark may range 50 km from its customary feeding ground, then adding parenthetically the distance 31.07 miles. In a different part of the History section, American coke output is expressed in tens of thousands of tons, with no unit conversion. I think that's the way the article should read. Does anyone agree?Cieljaune (talk) 15:43, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

Agree.TSRL (talk) 22:03, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Agree. Done. --MadeOfAtoms (talk) 08:49, 22 July 2021 (UTC)