The structure and pyrolysis characteristics of three inertinite-rich Chinese western coals were researched and compared with one relative vitrinite-rich Chinese middle coal by means of XRD, TG-DTG and fixed-bed reactor. The results show that the atomic ratio O/C, aromaticity factor, even ring condensation number and ring condensation index increase and atomic ratio H/C decreases with increasing inertinite content in coal; inertinite contains more aromatic ring structure than that of vitrinite; the crystallite structure order of coal char increases slightly with increasing heat treatment temperature. The higher inertinite content in coal is, the lower pyrolysis reactivity of coal is at lower temperature, and yet they have obvious second pyrolysis reactivity in higher temperature. The pyrolysis reaction in primarily devolatilisation phase that comes mainly from the decomposition of containing hydrogen function groups and the secondary devolatilisation at high temperature is mainly the decomposition of stable containing oxygen function groups in coal matrix with higher inertinite. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.