Mining Publication: Relationship of Coal Seam Parameters and Airborne Respirable Dust at Longwalls
The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the relationship of bituminous coal seam parameters and the amount of airborne respirable dust generated at longwalls. Dust and coal samples were obtained from 20 longwalls operating in geographically representative coalfields throughout the United States. Statistical analyses of coal seam parameters and airborne respirable dust measurements indicate a likely causal relationship between seam type and respirable dust. Low-ash, high-volatile coal seams were associated with higher airborne respirable dust levels. A negative linear correlation (significant at the 95-pct confidence level) was observed between the seam's ash content and airborne respirable dust, explaining up to 18 pct (r2 = 0.18) of headgate dust level variation and up to 15 pct of tailgate dust level variation. Volatile matter was found to have a positive linear correlation with tailgate dust level, explaining 16 pct of the variation. Further data examination indicated that these relationships with dust are most likely nonlinear, because of improved r2 values over the linear correlations. However, a notable portion of longwall dust production is influenced by other operational parameters, so additional research under more controlled conditions is needed to determine the seam's causative functions.