Mining Contract: Underground Mine Diesel Particulate Monitor Network
This contract will result in a monitor that can (1) measure diesel particulate matter (DPM) in real time continuously for at least a month, and (2) provide mine-wide DPM concentrations to a central control station located on the surface.
Contract Status & Impact
This contract has three major requirements and the progress to date is listed below.
The instrument will measure DPM in real time continuously for a month. The instrument uses a laser absorption technique similar to the portable Nomadics monitor (Airtec). However, the Airtec filter is quickly saturated with DPM, prohibiting use for more than about two shifts. Therefore, Airwatch, the area monitor being constructed for this contract, places the filter media onto a tape mechanism that can shift to create a clean filter spot when one spot becomes saturated.
- Mechanical design: Different filter materials have been tested for the tape, and the best material was chosen. The internal part of the instrument, including tape mechanism, laser, and detection, has been constructed and tested at NIOSH in Pittsburgh, PA. The prototype instrument provided accurate DPM measurements but improvements were needed. At this time, the tape mechanism and laser and detector setup have been designed and constructed with the exception of the installation of an improved tape motor (which has been ordered). The next step is finishing the design and construction for the instrument housing.
- Electronic and software design: Most of the electronic boards and components have been chosen and constructed. The software to run the microcontrollers is currently being finished.
The instrument will have networking capabilities.
- Networking: After much research, 4-20 mA and Ethernet interfaces were decided for the networking. The 4-20 transmitter and receiver have been designed and tested.
The instrument will be tested in the laboratory and in the field.
- Testing: Nomadics has reviewed the facilities at NIOSH in Pittsburgh, PA, to design a chamber needed to perform laboratory testing at Nomadics. This chamber is currently being constructed.