Mining Contract: Noise Reduction of Continuous Miner Scrubber Fan System
Noise-induced hearing loss affects about 90 percent of all miners by age 50 due to regular, repeated, and sustained levels of noise exposure above what is considered safe. The noise associated with continuous miner machines used underground to cut coal can be excessive, which can lead not only to hearing loss, but can also make it difficult to communicate with fellow workers and hear alarms that may signal a hazard is present. Reducing the noise produced by this equipment would benefit operators and their surrounding coworkers.
Contract Status & Impact
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Interestingly, the primary noise source on a continuous miner is not the cutting head churning into the coal seam, but the scrubber system which serves to exhaust away much of the dust released by cutting coal from the coal face. The scrubber system of a continuous miner machine consists of ductwork, a demister box, a filter, a scrubber fan and stators, and an exhaust duct outlet, and the whole system extends from one end of the machine to the other. Studies show several areas in these systems where improvements might be made in order to reduce noise.
The objective of the proposed work is to demonstrate noise reduction of at least 10 decibels on a full-size prototype scrubber fan system while maintaining the required flowrate, demister efficiency, and pressure rise. The proposed approach is to first redesign the demister and ductwork for a scrubber fan system using modern computational tools to reduce the noise signature while maintaining aerodynamic performance, and then test and verify the noise reduction performance using a full-scale prototype scrubber system.
By redesigning components of the system using state-of-the-art aerodynamic and noise prediction tools, and removing inefficiencies in the system that might further exacerbate any noise generation, the result will be a scrubber system that is equally effective at removing dust as current models, but which operates more efficiently and with less noise.
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