Mining Publication: Summary of Combustion Products from Mine Materials: Their Relevance to Mine Fire Detection
The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the product-of-combustion (POC) characteristics of combustible materials used in typical coal mining operations in a series of experiments conducted in an intermediate-scale fire tunnel. The materials examined include wood cribs, transformer fluid, coal, conveyor belting, brattice cloth, and ventilation ducting. Smoke and toxic gases evolved from burning materials contribute to panic conditions and hinder escape. Smoke irritates and obscures vision, while toxic gases physically debilitate and disorient the victims. However, POC emissions may be used for early warning fire detection. POC levels will vary not only between materials but also between stages of combustion and the conditions in which they are burning. This report summarizes the POC characteristics of each material and evaluates their effectiveness for early warning mine fire detection. Results show that smoke was the POC most readily detected from the smoldering materials tested.