Innovative, reliable personal monitors for mineworker protection.
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R01-OH-009548, 2010 Oct; :1-33
Coal mining is an extremely dangerous enterprise, with accidents over the past year in the U.S., Chile, China, and elsewhere making news headlines. Despite many recent technological enhancements, it remains one of the most hazardous occupations. One of the recurring challenges in mining is the potential of worker exposure to toxic gases (typically carbon monoxide), oxygen depletion, or the risk of explosions due to the build-up of combustible gases, such as methane. In this project, technology for monitoring of these gases with improved reliability has been developed with the ultimate goal of increasing the safety of mine workers. These improvements are enabled by an innovative approach involving the use of complementary sensors for measuring the same gas. These redundant sensors work in conjunction to overcome the inherent limitations of each sensor when operated alone, thereby ensuring higher reliability than is currently available from commercial multi-gas monitors. In this project, the redundant sensor approach was demonstrated by the construction and testing of a prototype redundant sensor multi-gas (RS-MG) detector for mine gases. A combination of microsensors developed at Synkera and commercially available electrochemical gas sensors were utilized. The microsensors developed and tested in this project take advantage of advances in nanomaterials and ceramic micromachining, which were used to create low-cost sensors that are miniaturized and operate at extremely low power. These features allow this redundant approach to be implemented in a manner that does not appreciably increase the size or cost of a multi-gas monitoring unit compared to currently available commercial units. With suitable low-profile packaging and further testing in the field, this technology should result in a next-generation personal gas monitor providing enhanced safety for mine workers.
Coal-mining; Mining-industry; Hazards; Accidents; Traumatic-injuries; Injuries; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Toxic-gases; Toxins; Explosions; Gases; Carbonyls; Methanes; Monitors; Mine-workers; Safety-measures; Gas-detectors; Nanotechnology
Final Grant Report
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Synkera Technologies, Inc., Longmont, Colorado