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Mining Project: Evaluation of LIDAR as a Novel Remote Dust Sensing Technology

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigators
  • Gerald J. Joy, NIOSH, 412-386-4074
Start Date10/1/2011
Purpose

The objective of this research is to evaluate the feasibility of using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), a remote sensing technology based on laser reflection, as a dust monitoring tool in the mining industry.

Program Area
Keywordscoal mine dust, emerging technology, underground mining

Research Summary

The goal of this research is to evaluate the feasibility of using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), a remote sensing technology analogous to RADAR, to use as a dust monitoring tool in the mining industry. LIDAR is a remote sensing technology that can rapidly scan large volumes for contaminants. MSHA has proposed reducing the exposure limit for respirable coal mine dust from 2 mg/m3 to 1 mg/m3. To achieve lower exposures without negatively affecting production levels, a better understanding is needed of the sources and transport of respirable dust and how to optimize the performance of dust controls. If LIDAR can be utilized in mining to remotely monitor the location and movement of dust, new opportunities to reduce the exposure of miners to respirable dust will become available. This project will be the initial evaluation of light detection and ranging technology (LIDAR) by OMSHR for remote dust source and transport monitoring.

This project directly supports the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) Strategic Goal 1 to "Reduce respiratory diseases in miners by reducing health hazards in the workplace associated with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, silicosis, and diesel emissions."

The ability of LIDAR to remotely determine the location and movement of airborne dust will be examined. Tests will be conducted in the longwall and continuous miner model mine galleries at Bruceton Research Center. The following tasks will be completed during this project:

(1) Test the ability of the LIDAR system to function in a volume that includes complex structures. The ‘vision’ of the LIDAR system will be evaluated to determine if it can successfully scan the length of the longwall gallery face.

(2) Test the effect of various dust concentrations on the LIDAR system. Multiple dust concentrations within the range observed on actual longwall and continuous miner faces will be used to challenge the LIDAR system.

(3) Test the effect of various air velocities on the LIDAR system. Two air velocities will be used on the longwall gallery to determine if the LIDAR can observe the location and movement of dust under these conditions. One velocity will be used on the continuous miner gallery.

(4) Test the effect of water spray dust controls on the LIDAR system. The potential for water spray dust controls to decrease or enhance the ability of the LIDAR system to locate and track airborne dust movement will be tested.

 

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