The characterization of coal by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy is a well established technique which has been overviewed recently by Painter <i>et al.</i> The utility of photoacoustic (PAS) detection in association with the FT-IR technique for the determination of the organic content of coal and shale has yet to be determined. In this note, the use of FT-IR/PAS in the characterization of coal and shale has been examined.

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