Mining Publication: Experimental Study of Flame Spread on Conveyor Belts in a Small-scale Tunnel
This paper presents experimental results for conveyor belt flame spread from tests conducted in a small-scale tunnel. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of belt type, ventilation velocity, belt surface-to-roof distance and ignition source power on the flame spread properties. The tunnel used was 4.9 m long by 0.46 m square with the ventilation velocity ranging from 0.7 to 3.2 m/s. The ignition source was an impinged methane jet burner with heat output ranging from 7 to 21 kW. The belts tested included non-fire resistant rubber belts, fire-resistant rubber belts, fire-resistant neoprene belt and fire-resistant PVC belt with belt samples measuring 0.23 m wide by 2.5 m long. Experimental results show that with a ventilation velocity of 1.02 m/s all conveyor belts could be ignited, and that with sufficient ignition source power, flames spread the full length of the belt sample. The data showed a coupling effect of the ventilation air velocity and the belt surface-to-roof distance on the flame spread rate. For instance, flames could not spread with a ventilation velocity higher than 1.52 m/s and a surface-to-roof distance of 0.22 m. The use of the measured CO/CO2 ratio as an indicator of combustion stoichiometry is also discussed.