Application of Water Mist for the Control of Fuel-Rich Fires In Model Coal Mine Entries

Loomis, Ian M. ; McPherson, Malcolm J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
A fuel-rich fire exists when the quantity of fuel exceeds the oxygen available to support complete combustion. The transition of a mine fire from Oxygen- rich to Fuel-rich combustion, at this time, represents a point-of-no-return in the fire fighting efforts. Once the transition has been made to fuel-rich the fire can spread at a rate 6 to 10 times as fast as in the oxygen-rich state. Utilizing available technology the fire fighters are left to seal the fuel-rich fie as the only technique to extinguish it. In order to minimize the devastating effects of a fuel- rich fire it is important to understand the means by which the fire becomes fuel-rich and by what means the fire may be returned to an oxygen-rich state. This paper covers: the development mechanism of a fuel- rich fire in a coal mine entry and the physical and chemical effects of applying water to a fire. Experiments concerning these matters have been conducted in a 30 cm square wind tunnel constructed at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as a model coal mine entry. This paper also addresses the results obtained in testing application of a water mist to fuel-rich fires in this model. These tests have centered on the development profile of a fuel-rich fire in a duct and demonstrate a means of regaining control of a fuel-rich fire by returning it to an oxygen-rich state.
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