Mining Publication: Using Sulfur Hexafluoride as a Gaseous Tracer to Study Ventilation Systems in Mines
The Bureau of Mines found sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), released from a lecture bottle, to be an ideal gaseous tracer for studying mine ventilation systems. Air samples were collected in glass syringes and analyzed by electron-capture gas chromatography. In these studies, the lower limit of detection was about 1 part per billion by volume (ppb) of SF6 per part of air. Experiments conducted in a Pennsylvania limestone mine showed this technique useful in evaluating the effectiveness of auxiliary fans, measuring low flow velocities, probing the air circulating near a working face region where ventilation appeared to be poor, and estimating volumetric flow rates in airways of large cross-sectional area and having low flow velocities. This technique was also used in a western vein-type metal mine to measure the amount of return air being recirculated into the intake air due to leakage through old stoped areas.