Mining Publication: Explosion Prevention in United States Coal Mines
This paper outlines the legal standards and methods for protecting underground coal mines in the United States from explosions of methane gas and coal dust. It will discuss inspection and monitoring of mine atmospheres, dilution of methane through ventilation, methane drainage prior to, during and post-mining, as well as explosion prevention through rock dusting and sealing of mined-out areas. Recent research findings of NIOSH, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory on the magnitude of pressures obtained during methane explosions from modeling and full-scale explosion tests at the NIOSH Lake Lynn Experimental Mine will be presented. This work is currently being applied to modeling the structural response of explosion-proof mine seals to pressures from gas explosions. Also, new research will be presented on the inertization of float coal dust in mines through the addition of inert stone dust and on the application of the Coal Dust Explosibility Meter (CDEM), a handheld device developed by NIOSH to directly measure the explosibility of a coal dust - limestone dust mixture based on optical reflectivity.