Mining Contract: Technical Solutions for Enhancements to Mine Safety Using Barricade II Fire Blocking Gel
This project evaluated the use of Barricade II Fire Blocking Gel for use in mine fire prevention, control, or fire suppression technologies. It also evaluated its potential for use by mine rescue teams and fire brigade teams. The project investigated and tested methods for gel delivery to belt drives and belt take-ups, at diesel fueling stations, at compressor stations, or at other locations where deluge or sprinkler systems are employed underground. Procedures were established and evaluated for using the gel as a fire control and extinguishing method at underground fire hose locations. The project also evaluated the gel in terms of its ability to stop slow fire spread by coating the ribs, roof, and floor as containment points to an approaching fire. Lastly, the gel was evaluated in terms of its ability to help protect mine rescue teams who would apply it to the mine ribs, roof, and floor to provide safe mine egress if needed.
Contract Status & Impact
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Barricade II Fire Blocking Gel is a fire prevention, retardant, and firefighting substance initially designed to protect houses and other structures from wildfires. Under this contract, the gel was tested to determine its potential to prevent, retard, and fight underground coal mine fires. Application technologies in mine situations were also evaluated, along with how effectively and quickly mine rescue and fire brigade teams could apply the gel underground. Its durability after being applied to the mine roof, rib, and floor was also evaluated.
At the NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory:
- Barricade II Gel was applied to coal and wood piles exposed to a heating source. Ignition of the coal and wood was significantly delayed and retarded as compared to piles not treated with the gel. A significant controlled coal pile fire was ignited and then Barricade II Gel was sprayed onto the fire to determine its extinguishment potential. This suppressed and cooled the coal fire to the point where re-ignition would not occur within 23 seconds of the start of gel application.
- Spray application technologies and ease and speed of application were determined by having Consol Energy rescue and fire brigade team members evaluate gel performance. Testing showed that the gel could quickly and easily be sprayed onto a mine’s ribs, roof, and floor, and that it flows easily through a typical mine fire protection water sprinkler system.
Additional testing was conducted at NIOSH's Safety Research Coal Mine to determine how long the gel would effectively remain on the ribs, roof, and floor of the mine. This testing further showed the ease and speed of application. A Consol rescue team applied 5.5 gallons of Barricade II Gel through a 30 gpm water nozzle (approximately 4% gel/water mixture) onto the ribs and roof of the mine. A total of 129 gallons of the mix was applied in less than 5 minutes. The total area of mine surface coated was 1,580 ft2. For up to several weeks following application, the gel was still moist and had lost little of its volume on the ribs and roof of the mine. Barricade II Gel appears to have the potential to act as a tool to prevent, retard, and fight underground coal mine fires.
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