ISO 20904:2006 sets out the basic methods for sampling fine coal, coal rejects or tailings of nominal top size < 4 mm that is mixed with water to form a slurry. At very high ratios of fine solids to water when the material assumes a soft plastic form, the mixture is correctly termed a paste. Sampling of pastes is not covered in ISO 20904:2006.
The procedures described in ISO 20904:2006 primarily apply to sampling of coal that is transported in moving streams as a slurry. These streams can fall freely or be confined in pipes, launders, chutes, spirals or similar channels. Sampling of slurries in stationary situations, such as a settled or even a well-stirred slurry in a tank, holding vessel or dam, is not recommended and is not covered in ISO 20904:2006.
ISO 20904:2006 describes procedures that are designed to provide samples representative of the slurry solids and particle size distribution of the slurry under examination. After draining the slurry sample of fluid and measuring the fluid volume, damp samples of the contained solids in the slurry are available for drying (if required) and measurement of one or more characteristics in an unbiased manner and with a known degree of precision. The characteristics are measured by chemical analysis or physical testing or both.
The sampling methods described are applicable to slurries that require inspection to verify compliance with product specifications, determination of the value of a characteristic as a basis for settlement between trading partners or estimation of a set of average characteristics and variances that describes a system or procedure.