Instruments for Measuring Dust Accumulation and Composition in Underground Coal Mines

Lucci, Carrie E. ; Cortese, Robert A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations require underground coal mine operators to dust their mine corridors with an inert material to prevent coal dust explosions. The most commonly used material is pulverized limestone. Current practice to determine compliance with MSHA regulations requires the coal mine foreman or an MSHA inspector to collect samples of the deposited dust, a mixture of coal dust and limestone rock dust, for above ground laboratory analysis. To expedite this process, the U.S. Bureau of Mines has developed two instruments to facilitate the inspection and rock dusting processes, the explosibility meter and float dust deposition meter. The explosibility meter is a hand-held instrument which provides an in situ measurement of the explosible nature of homogeneous mine dust samples. The float dust deposition meter measures the mass loading density of the top layer of coal or limestone dust deposited on the mine floor during mining operations by the ventilation air. It may also be used to automate trickle rock dusting equipment. The operation of each device is based on the difference in the optical reflectance between the light limestone dust and the dark coal dust. The principal of the explosibility meter is based on the observation that, for a fixed coal volatility, the optical reflectance of dust mixtures is relatively constant at the limit of flammability, and independent of the coal dust particle size.
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