Preventing and Fighting Spontaneous Combustion by Foam Pulp in Bobov Dol Coal Field

Michaylov, Michael
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
INTRODUCTUCTICN The coal seams at Bobov dol basin are highly prone to spontaneous combustion in Bulgaria. The risks of endogenous fires (SPONCOM) exist mainly in gob area. During the last 15 years three different technologies for preventing and fighting SPONCOM have been applied in underground mines of this basin: pulp from hard material and water, foam and inerting with nitrogen. On the basis of experimental application of these technologies as well as theoretical and experimental research a new technology - Foam Pulp Technology (FPT) was worked out. It is very effective in difficult to reach places in a gob. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED OF FPT Application of the three methods mentioned above showed advantages as well as some disadvantages, allowing determination of their effective application scope depending on geological and working conditions. Their advantages can be summarized as follows: - Foaming: high viscosity at low density, which allows forming a thick layer; good surfactant wetting properties; excellent effective cooling during evaporation in high temperature zones. - Pulping with mixture of solid particles (e.g., fly ash) and water from surface installation: easy to apply in a mine; low operational and energy costs due to gravity transport from the surface to the gob: good ecological results because the waste material is returned back underground. - Inerting with nitrogen: volumetric action which doesn't restrict the thickness of treated coal pile; easy to apply in a mine; controllable nitrogen delivery depending on fire hazard conditions. Main disadvantages of the same three methods are: - Foaming: rapid disintegration due to intrusion into heterogeneous and porous media and high costs due to the need of frequent large volume foam flows (short foam's life); - Pulping: inapplicable for coal piles with high thickness which is of great importance in the cases of seams with ununiform hypsometry (rapid and frequent changes in a seam configuration) and/or great volumes of coal or ore piles particularly heated to a high temperature; strong dependence on gob floor declination; water draining of the working face area which impedes the movement of supports and chain conveyor's. - Inerting: relatively high costs hardly depending on the rate of face advance (fig.1) in comparison with the other methods; it is difficult to ensure sufficient oxygen at the exit end of the face. This problem is crucial in faces with a high level of methane emissions; accelerating of the oxidation and spontaneous heating of the pile after turning off the nitrogen supply. Inerting should be applied again at higher capacity of nitrogen supply (fig.2) and what is more important, it shouldn't be
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