The Effectiveness Of On-Board Suppression Systems To Prevent The Propagation Of Methane Ignitions Under Simulated Coal Mining Conditions

Genc, B.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
After the explosion at Middelbult Colliery, South Africa in May1993, which claimed 53 lives, the South African Coal Mining Industry and the Safety In Mines Research Advisory Committee (SIMRAC) united forces to establish a surface facility to develop and test on-board flame suppression systems for continuous miners and roadheaders. The first test that was conducted in this newly constructed test tunnel at the Kloppersbos Research Facility, CSIR was in July 1995.Since then 70 tests have been conducted using the facility and have focused on on-board active ignition suppression systems for continuous miners (CM) and road heading (RH) machines to enhance the safety of South African mine workers in collieries. These suppression systems are mounted on the CM or RH machine and detect the occurrence of an ignition by means of light-sensitive sensors. The electronic signal from the sensor triggers the suppression system, creating a flame-suppression curtain, containing and extinguishing the flame in the immediate vicinity of the ignition. Forty-three tests have been conducted with an active on-board suppression system present inside the test tunnel. Since flame propagation speed is an extremely important parameter, the CSIR-Miningtek made the results of the test programme available for re-analysis. Flame speed depended on whether a machine was present in the heading or not, the geometry of the heading and the volume and composition of the explosive mixture of gas. Flame speeds of up to 190 m/s were recorded. However, the active suppression systems were almost always successful in containing flame propagation.
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