Gilsonite is mineral hydrocarbon of asphaltite class, was first discovered in 1885.Gilsonite is a black solid of fairly bright luster and melts or fuses between 130 and 210C.It is soluble in carbon disulfide, carbon tetrachloride and many other non-polar organic solvent. The principal deposit of Gilsonite is found in the Gilanegharb, Kermanshah, Iran as filling in vertical fissures in the mountain calcareous shales, limestone and sandstones.
Since it is discovery, Gilsonite has gained considerable commercial importance. The ATDM Gilsonite company has the annual production to be well over eighty thousands tons with a yearly income of nearly three million dollars for the province of Kermanshah. Considering these facts, it is easy to visualize the commercial importance of this material. Gilsonite is substance composed principally of complex hydrocarbons. They contain very little mineral mater or oxygenated compounds, and are largely soluble in carbon disulphide.
These veins vary in width from several meter and to twenty meters, and vary in length from a few kilometer to as much as thirty or forty km.
Some veins are believed to be fourteen hundred meter. It has been estimated that Utah has a reserve supply of sixteen million tons of this are available for commercial development.
Gilsonite metamorphic products of petroleum resulting from combination of influences of time, heat and pressure. Gilsonite in general have been classified by Abraham on the based on following criteria:
- Physical properties
- non mineral constituents soluble in carbon disuphide
- Chemical composition
- hydrocarbon content
- oxygenated bodies
- crystallizable paraffin
- mineral matter
Gilsonite as above condition found only in Gilanegharb Kermanshah. It is solid asphalt resembling coal very much in appearance. Following data it is composition and properties taken from ATDM lab:
Color . Black
Fracture . Conchoidal
Lustre . bright to fairly bright
Streal . Brown
Specific gravity @ 25C . 1.03-1.10
Hardness needle penetrometer at 25C . 0-3
Fusing point . 130 to 210C
Solubility in CS2 . Greater than 75%
Mineral matter . trace-10%
Carbon . 85%
Hydrogen . 8.5%
Nitrogen . 2-2.8%
Oxygen . 0-2%
Solid paraffin . O-trace
Sulfonation residue . 85-95%
Acid value . 2.3%
Saponification value . 5.6%
Diazo reaction(test for phenols) . Negative
Anthraquinone reaction . Negative
Gilsonite molecular types
Gilsonite has two types of molecules, a straight carbon and a ringed carbon. When you heat the Gilsonite, the two components separate. The ringed carbon vaporizes and is called a volatile. A straight carbon remains and becomes the residue, or sometimes called carbon or carbon black.We are exporting the carbon in the residue form. The volatile after cooling done can be used as a fuel and fuel should be refined to segregate sulfur or other elements and add additives.
The liquid is as a raw material in petrochemical processing and a refinery feed stock for cracking into products like gasoline. Usually Gilsonite has over 60% volatiles and under 40% residues. Typically the residue is in the 36 to 38% range. The volatiles are labeled typically as the amount "lost in ignition".
Gilsonite is very fragile. It shatters easily. Rolling the Gilsonite between two drums tends to give the best particle distribution to use as raw material in carbon production.
When we process the Gilsonite from chunks to powder and then heating the Gilsonite powder where we drive off the high value volatiles, we get much less material, then we are able to supply volume quantity to our customer.