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Mining Project: Improving Underground Coal Mine Sealing Strategies

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigator
  • Richard Karl Zipf, NIOSH, 412-386-4097
Start Date2/13/2008

This project seeks to eliminate disasters from gas explosions within sealed areas of coal mines through improved engineering of the complete sealing process and better education of the mining workforce

Program Areas
Keywordsengineering, explosions, underground mining

Research Summary

This project addresses specific research goals to assist the mining community in meeting the seal requirements of the new MSHA Final Rule for sealing of abandoned areas. NIOSH researchers have identified the following research needs:

(1) Understanding of explosive mixture accumulation and explosion pressures in sealed areas.
(2) Engineering procedures for sealing abandoned areas.
(3) Systems to monitor and control methane accumulation within sealed areas.

This project fulfills a mandate of the MINER Act of 2006 to increase the design standard for coal mine seals. Completion of this project will provide the coal industry with better engineering tools to meet the new seal standards.

Project researchers will produce three related outputs during the course of this research project:
-- “Comprehensive Engineering Manual for Sealing Abandoned Areas of Coal Mines”
-- “Pocket Manual for Sealing”
-- a stream of conference papers and peer-reviewed journal articles.


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