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Mining Workshop: Preventing Coal Dust Explosions in Underground Coal Mines

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

Pittsburgh, PA: January 24, 2012

There has been progress in area of explosion prevention. However, changing mining conditions and the fact that coal dust explosions still occur require periodic assessments of current practices. The new 80% incombustible content (IC) standard and the recent commercialization of the Coal Dust Explosibility Meter (CDEM), offer the opportunity for further reductions in the probability of a dust explosion.

This workshop describes the use of the CDEM as a powerful tool to help prevent coal dust explosions. It covers the science of explosion prevention and current practices and presents a brief summary of NIOSH research on the topic.

Videos of presentations made by NIOSH researchers are available for viewing below. In addition, you may request a DVD containing all the workshop presentations by NIOSH researchers by sending an email to

Problem Definition - Prevention of Coal Dust Explosions

Gerrit Goodman, Ph.D., Acting Branch Chief Fires and Explosions

  • Explosion risk due to presence of un-neutralized coal dust
  • Application of research results to development of rock dust inerting criteria
  • Impact of coal dust particle size on flame propagation and inerting limits
  • Impact of percent incombustible content (IC) on explosibility and development of the new 80% IC standard

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Use of the Coal Dust Explosibility Meter (CDEM) to Verify Rock Dust Percentage

Marcia Harris, Chemical Engineer

  • Application
  • Calibration
  • Operation
  • Discussion on use of CDEM to improve mine safety

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Update On Current Research and Wrap-up

Dan Alexander, Ph.D., P.E.

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