Mining Publication: Laboratory Testing To Quantify Dust Entrainment During Shield Advance
As longwall shields are lowered in preparation for advance, dust from the canopy falls directly into the air stream with the potential of becoming entrained. Historical dust sampling data from the early 1980s shows that shield advance contributed an average of 12 percent to the airborne respirable dust levels found on longwalls in the United States. Data from the 1990s indicates that shield dust liberation had increased to an average of 23 percent. Increased longwall production levels over this time resulted in the need to move a larger number of shields during each shift, while an increase in air velocities on the face was also occurring. These factors combine to suggest that greater quantities of shield dust are being entrained into the face air. A series of controlled laboratory tests were conducted in a test stand simulating shield dust entrainment to evaluate changes in airborne respirable dust levels at different air velocities. Significant differences in respirable dust entrainment were observed. The test facility, test methodology, and dust sampling results will be reviewed and discussed.