Mining Contract: Evaluation, Scaled Testing, and Testing Design of Active Explosion Barriers Systems for the US Underground Coal Mines

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Contract # 200-2017-94434
Start Date 8/29/2017
End Date 8/31/2019
Research Concept

The use of active explosion barrier systems in the United States could enhance the safety of underground coal mines.

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to

Underground coal mine explosions can be addressed using two methods: prevention and mitigation. U.S. mining industry practices have placed emphasis on preventing explosions in underground coal mines, with little being done to mitigate explosions if they occur, other than the use of rock dust to minimize propagation. Despite success in preventing underground coal mine explosions in the U.S., the threat of an explosion does still exist.

Other mining countries have been working towards developing mitigation techniques such as active explosion barriers. The contractor’s research team is developing active-barrier system components in-house as well as acquiring systems from other countries. The researchers have analyzed the most used active barrier systems in other mining countries, developing a comprehensive database with existing literature of barrier systems. Currently they are in the process of developing both small- and large-scale shock tubes where they can test active barrier sensors in methane/coal dust explosions.

Page last reviewed: April 10, 2020
Page last updated: December 12, 2018