The inhalation and retention in the lungs of respirable coal mine dust in the size range from 0.1 Um to 10 um diameter is a serious hazard in coal mining. Information on the aerodynamic and agglomeration behavior of dust particles can be obtained through better knowledge of the physical and chemical characteristics of individual dust particles. Hence, size, shape, surface topography, and agglomeration characteristics of mine dusts were studied using the secondary and backscatter electron modes of the sem. Experimental techniques for preparing the substrate for mounting the dust specimens are described. Elemental identification, which is important since it allows inferences to be made about the mineral species to which particles belong, was done by energy dispersive x- ray analysis. The importance of collecting meaningful dust samples which can be analyzed in the sem is discussed and illustrated through the use of four collecting devices: a thermal precipitator, a filter, a cascade impactor, and a midget impinger.