A research program has been initiated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines to reduce the safety hazards of transporting coal from deep underground mines by using an air-lift hydrohoist. The coal air-lift hydrohoist is a system of hydraulically hoisting a coal-water slurry from the mine level to the surface with the assistance of compressed air. Experimental models are being used to define basic performance and operational characteristics of a coal air-lift hydrohoist before the system is attempted in an active underground coal mine. A description of a 7-m-high test model and demonstration unit is presented. Test results indicate that compressed air added upstream of a simulated coal injector will reduce the injection time by increasing the total flow past the injector. Air also assists the hydrohoisting of coal by reducing the overall density of the three- phase mixture in the riser pipe. Results from the 7-m-high test model support an expansion of research to develop and test a 60-m- high pilot-scale model of a coal air-lift hydrohoist prior to commercial-scale testing of the system.
Proc. Int'l Symp. on Unique Underground Structures; Csm Press, 1990, PP. 74-1 to 74-18
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