Testing Of An On-Board Active Suppression System For French Mining Conditions

Plessis, J. J. L. du
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2001
The French research institute, INERIS, requested the assistance of the CSIR?s Division of Mining Technology in developing further precautionary measures against explosions in their collieries. In response to this approach, an on-board active suppression system was adapted to meet their mining requirements. This system is used on tunnelling machines in Germany where the machine is positioned in the middle of the tunnel, which is therefore not much wider than the machine itself. With this configuration, the machine is never away from the tunnel face during the cutting cycle. As a result, the possible volume in front of the machine of combustible gas requiring suppression is less than 50 m3. In South Africa this technology has been adapted to suit a two-cut mining method which entails greater distances from the face and thus much larger volumes of methane mixtures requiring suppression. The particular configuration of the Explo-Stop® system being investigated required the suppression of possible methane ignition volumes of up to 180 m3of a 9% per volume methane/air mixture. The volume is a consequence of the large cross-sectional area of French underground workings and of the two-cut mining method used in France. In order to take the second cut in the coal seam, the machine is pulled back a maximum distance of 4 m, leaving an air pocket in which gas can accumulate. The machine-mounted system is required to effectively suppress any flame ignited by such a large accumulated volume of methane. The results of the protocol tests done at Kloppersbos showed that the system was capable of suppressing all simulated methane ignitions for the prescribed conditions. This was achieved with a temperature increase of less than a 100°C at the operator?s position and without any flame being detected at this position.
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