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Mining Project: Improving Underground Coal Mine Sealing Strategies

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.
Project DetailValue
Principal Investigator
  • Richard Karl Zipf, NIOSH OMSHR, 412-386-4097
Start Date2/13/2008
End Date9/30/2012

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 addressed 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 identified the following research aims:

  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.

 To reach these aims, project researchers produced two related outputs during the course of this research project: 

  • "Comprehensive Engineering Manual for Sealing Abandoned Areas of Coal Mines"
  • a stream of conference papers and peer-reviewed journal articles.

This project fulfilled a mandate of the MINER Act of 2006 to increase the design standard for coal mine seals. The completion of this project has provided the coal industry with better engineering tools to meet the new seal standards.



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