Mining Publication: Face Ventilation Measurement with Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)
The face ventilation measurement method developed by the Bureau of Mines involves releasing a small volume of tracer gas (SF6) on the off-curtain side of the working face at the start of the mining cycle. At the same time, gas bottle samples are taken in the immediate return airway. The gas samples are analyzed, and a curve is drawn of sf6 concentration versus time. From this curve, the percentage of gas removed per time is calculated. A curve showing a high percentage of the tracer gas removed in a short period would represent a well-ventilated face. The face ventilation measurement method was tested in a full-scale mine entry model. Subsequently it was used underground to evaluate the spray-fan ventilation system and in an MSHA test facility to test machine-mounted scrubbers. The method was shown to be a simple and effective way of evaluating face ventilation systems.