Coal starts out as decaying plant matter combined with minerals under conditions that occur in places such as bogs and wetlands. This specially blended mix of minerals and decayed plant matter is referred to as “peat,” the earliest material created in the formation of coal.
Sub-bituminous coals may be dull, dark brown to black, soft and crumbly at the lower end of the range, to bright jet-black, hard, and relatively strong at the upper end. They contain 15-30% inherent moisture by weight and are non-coking (undergo little swelling upon heating).
Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding obstructs the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere, slowing the rate of decomposition. Peatlands, particularly bogs, are the primary source of peat, although less-common wetlands including fens, pocosins, and peat swamp forests also deposit peat.
A fen is one of the main types of wetland, the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs. Along with bogs, fens are a kind of mire. Fens are minerotrophic peatlands, usually fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater.
Graphite is an electrical conductor, hence useful in such applications as arc lamp electrodes. It can conduct electricity due to the vast electron delocalization within the carbon layers (a phenomenon called aromaticity). These valence electrons are free to move, so are able to conduct electricity.
Peat often stains the water yellow or brown due to the leaching of tannins. Water filtration. Peat is used in water filtration, such as for the treatment of septic tank effluent and as for urban runoff. Balneotherapy. Peat is widely used in balneotherapy (the use of bathing to treat disease).
Peat moss is sometimes called sphagnum peat moss because much of the dead material in a peat bog comes from sphagnum moss that grew on top of the bog. Don’t confuse sphagnum peat moss with sphagnum moss, which is made up of long, fibrous strands of plant material.
As nouns the difference between peat and coal is that peat is soil formed of dead but not fully decayed plants found in bog areas or peat can be (obsolete) a pet, a darling; a woman while coal is (uncountable) a black rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.