Mining Publication: Dynamic Temperature Measurement of Overheated Shuttle Car Trailing Cables in Underground Coal Mines
Recent research conducted by NIOSH, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory showed that electric current levels permitted under present regulations may not limit cable temperatures to less than 90 degrees-C in reeled trailing cables. Reeled cables, tightly wrapped with many turns, all carrying current in an enclosed space, can become overheated due to poor heat transfer. This overheating can cause the cable insulation to soften and become easily damaged. The damaged insulation reduces the life of the cable and can lead to shock, electrocution, and mine fires. This paper describes a method of measuring the conductor temperature of mine trailing cables during normal operation. The temperature is measured using a 50/125 micrometer Graded Index Multimode Optical Fiber located in the center of the metallic conductors. Distributed temperature measurements are made using an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR). This system is capable of measuring temperature with an accuracy of plus or minus one degree centigrade over a length of 4km at 1-m intervals. With this unique way of measuring temperature, tests can be conducted simulating actual mine conditions and provide important data to allow MSHA's Approval and Certification Center to develop approval criteria for cyclically rated reeled machines.