Volatile Matter

Definition - What does Volatile Matter mean?

Volatile matter is an unstable material. Volatile matter tends to not remain in one state and will rapidly transition to another state, or vaporize, when the right conditions are met. Volatile matter has its volatility determined not by temperature but more so by the vapor pressure required to initiate a phase change.

Corrosionpedia explains Volatile Matter

Vapor pressure is the most common measure of just how volatile a specimen of volatile matter is. Temperature plays a much smaller role. If a material has a low vapor pressure, then it will be less prone to rapid vaporization, as opposed to a material with a high vapor pressure.

One group of volatile matter is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Common VOCs include most common types of fuels, paints and cleaning products. Under the right conditions they vaporize and emit gases. Long-term exposure to some types of VOCs can have detrimental effects to an individual's health.

One application where the amount of volatile matter is closely observed is when coal is used for fuel. For the analysis of the amount of volatile matter in coal, the coal is heated to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. Following that, the gases that the coal emits during the heating phase are collected and the gas composition is determined. The amount of volatile matter coal has in it is determined by where it is mined from, and it determines how the coal will be used.


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