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Evaluation of novel fire suppression systems for conveyor belt fires in underground coal mines.

Teacoach K; Thomas R
Proceedings of the Seventh International Seminar on Fire & Explosion Hazards (ISFEH7), May 5-10, 2013, Providence, Rhode Island. Bradley D, Makhviladze G, Molkov V, Sunderland P, Tamanini F, eds. Singapore: Research Publishing, 2013 May; :453-462
For decades, the majority of underground coal mine fire suppression systems have relied on water applied by sprinkler heads to protect the conveyor belt drive area. However, alternative types of suppression agents and suppression systems are utilized in other industries that may be as practical and as effective as sprinkler systems in underground coal mines. This paper summarizes the results from 12 full-scale conveyor belt fire suppression experiments conducted under ventilated conditions in the Fire Suppression Facility (FSF) at the NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory (LLL) and uses these results to compare the suppression capabilities of fire-fighting foam, fire gel, and a deluge-type water mist suppression system. To assess the efficacy of the novel systems, we compared the amount of suppression agent needed and the time it took for the fire to be suppressed to baseline data obtained from experiments conducted using a standard water sprinkler system under the same experimental conditions. The results indicated that the three novel fire suppression systems were not able to suppress established conveyor belt fires located in the drive area more efficiently than a typical water sprinkler system. The data also indicated that fire intensity at the 5.1 m/s ventilation rate was always greater than the fire intensity at the 1.0 m/s ventilation rate, the foam and gel systems required less suppression agent than the water mist system, and the amount of time required to suppress the fire was similar with all three agents at both the ventilation rates. However, if the belt blocked the spray from reaching the base of the fire, the fire took significantly longer to be suppressed. These results are consistent with the baseline water sprinkler tests, where it was determined that water supply and nozzle placement are the two most important factors in the efficacy of a belt drive area suppression system.
Underground-mining; Coal-mining; Mining-industry; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Fire-protection; Fire-extinguishing-agents; Fire-extinguishing-systems; Ventilation; Author Keywords: Conveyor belt; suppression; underground mining
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Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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Bradley D; Makhviladze G; Molkov V; Sunderland P; Tamanini F
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NIOSH Division
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Proceedings of the Seventh International Seminar on Fire & Explosion Hazards (ISFEH7), May 5-10, 2013, Providence, Rhode Island
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division