Friday, February 1, 2013

Other Hidden Treasures

I love homeschooling and the freedom that I have to educate as I see fit. In fact, I would call myself an eclectic homeschooler. I enjoy using a variety of methods to homeschool and learn. So, in our study of the earth ...

We have talked about gems and precious metals... yet there are still hidden gems beneath the dirt that are as precious as gold. They are elements that we have come to depend on on a daily basis. FUEL.

Fuels are used to operate machinery, run industries, and even heat our homes and cook our meals. Fuels are so very important that we would be lost without them. One of these important fuels is coal. Coal is called a fossil fuel. Do you know why? It is formed from decayed plant and animal matter. These remains would be considered fossils, but instead they have turned into coal. Thus, we have fossil fuels.

There are several different types of coal:
1) Hard coal is called anthracite. It is hard, black and shiny. It burns very slowly and cleanly. It is usually located deep within the earth, so it is difficult to mine.
2) Bituminous coal is the most common type of coal and is considered a soft coal. This coal is black and shiny but not hard. This is the major fuel used in power plants. It is plentiful and easy to mine, so it is very popular for use in industrial settings. When this coal is burned it produces coal tar which can be used in plastics, perfumes, and other products.
3) Sub-bituminous coal is the second most common type of coal. It is softer and more crumbly than bituminous coal. Yet, it is used for generating electricity.
4)Lignite coal is also called brown coal and it is the poorest quality. It usually gives off a stinky odor and lots of soot when it is burned. Yet with our modern pollution control measures it has made it possible to burn lignite in power plants in a clean manner.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great science infor here! Love it! I will have to have my son read some of this. He is a scientist in training. (well homeschool training)
    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I too am an ecletic homeschooler. We are forever changing how we do things. But isn't that why we homeschool, to adjust to the needs, levels and speeds that are right for our kiddos.

    Great blog. I'll be back to check in!