Mining Publication: Laboratory Evaluation of Shield Dust Entrainment in High-Velocity Airstreams
In conjunction with steady increases in production levels, longwall operators have applied greater quantities of ventilating air and spray water in an effort to control respirable dust and/or methane. Air velocities greater than 7.6 m/s (1500 fpm) have been measured on longwall faces. Operators have expressed concern over the potential entrainment of respirable dust at these high velocities. The greatest likelihood for entraining dust into the high velocity airstream may occur as shields are advanced allowing relatively dry particles to fall from the shield canopy directly into the airstream. Laboratory tests to simulate dust liberation during shield movement were conducted at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of NIOSH at velocities ranging from 2.0 to 8.2 m/s (400 to 1600 fpm). Airborne dust samples were obtained with personal impactors to quantify the size distribution and concentration of the dust entrained at the various air velocities. Statistically significant increases in both total and respirable dust concentrations were measured as test air velocities were increased.