Mining Publication: Mine Fire Detection Under Zero Airflow Conditions
A series of diesel fuel fire experiments were conducted in the Pittsburgh Research Center's Safety Research Coal mine (SRCM) to determine products-of-combustion (POC) spread rates along a single entry under zero imposed airflow conditions. Six experiments with an average fire intensity of 330 kW and three experiments with an average fire intensity of 30 kW were conducted in a 180 m long entry which had an average 2 m heights and 4 m width. POC spread rates were measured by the response time of diffusion type CO detectors, positioned at 30 m intervals, to CO concentrations 5 ppm above ambient. For the 330 kW fires, average POC spread rates of 0.22, 0.13, and 0.06 m/s were determined at 30, 60, and 90 m distances from the fire. For the 30 kW fires these average spread rates were reduced to 0.08, 0.04, and 0.04 m/s. The measured maximum roof layer temperature 30 m from two of the 330 kW fire was 30 and 36 degrees C, which is less than the 57 degrees C alarm point of a typical mine thermal sensor. It was determined that smoke detectors can be more effective for mine fire detection than CO detectors. The experimentally determined POC spread rates can be used to provide guidance for specification of sensor spacing to improve early fire detection at zero or very low air flows.