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Feasibility of automatic sprinkler systems for fire control along longwall faces.

Ryan MW; Smith AC
Longwall USA International Exhibition and Conference, June 8-10, 1993, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Aurora, CO: Maclean Hunter Presentations, Inc., 1993 Jun; :221-231
The U. S. Bureau of Mines conducted a feasibility study on the use of automatic sprinkler protection for fire control along a longwall face of an underground coal mine. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of ventilation on sprinkler discharge patterns and activation characteristics. The results showed delays in activation and shifts in total water coverage areas and water density distribution patterns as ventilation increased. Other test results indicated that as the airflow increased, the size of fire needed to activate an automatic sprinkler system also increased and that sprinklers located directly above the fire did not activate. The use of directional sprinklers at airflows of 300 fpm and greater were able to compensate for the effect of ventilation on the water spray pattern and the sprinkler activating downstream to extinguish the fire. An assessment of whether automatic sprinklers can withstand the high static water pressure in deep underground coal mines showed that although commercial sprinklers may be able to withstand high static pressures, they may not provide the same reliability and safety factor as when used aboveground at or below their rated pressure. Other parameters that were considered in the feasibility study were sprinkler durability, water supply, and water delivery on the longwall face. The typical water supply to a longwall face should be adequate for an automatic sprinkler system. Utilization of a 2 in diameter flexible high pressure hose should meet space, mobility, and safety constraints. After all these factors are considered, it appears feasible that automatic sprinkler systems can be effectively used for fire control along longwall faces if warranted by the incidence of fires.
Mining; Mining industry; Underground mines; Underground mining; Longwall mining; Coal mines; Coal mining; Fire fighting equipment; Fire extinguishing systems; Fire suppression
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 183-93
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Longwall USA International Exhibition and Conference, June 8-10, 1993, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division