Mining Publication: Performance of a Prototype Personal Dust Monitor for Coal Mine Use
The personal dust monitor (PDM) is a sampling device developed for measuring the personal exposure to coal mine dust of mine workers. The device is based on proprietary technology known as the tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) originally developed as a fixed- site environmental particulate mass monitor by Rupprecht and Patashnick Co., Inc., Albany, NY. Currently, the monitoring of exposure to coal mine dust relies on periodic samples taken by traditional coal mine dust sampling units that use a cyclone, filter, pump, and laboratory measurement of the filter mass. Better measurement of mine dust levels has been the goal of industry and labor for nearly two decades. PDM technology offers accurate, end-of-shift and near real time assessment of worker dust exposure. Laboratory and underground tests compared measurements taken by a prototype PDM-2 (a two-piece TEOM) to the average of multiple personal dust samplers monitoring the same space. In the range of mass loadings between 0.5 and 4.0 mg/m3 the PDM met a 25% accuracy criterion 95% of the time with 95% confidence. However, some questions still exist about potential bias between types of coal. The prototype two-piece device is in the process of being combined into a single unit that also contains the miners' cap lamp creating a more ergonomic dust sampling system.