jbw5306_minepdf.pdf - Air Flow Measurement in Mine Shaft...

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1 Air Flow Measurement in Mine Shaft for Subsurface Mine Ventilation William Smeltzer, [email protected] , 6 November, 2016 Abstract Ventilation systems are installed in mines to force fresh air from the surface into the mine shafts to prevent accumulation of explosive gases such as methane and gaseous hydrocarbons by diluting them to harmless levels and pushing the gas into ventilation shafts where the gas can be captured. Through a mockup of the mine, air flow rates can be used to determine appropriate fan sizes/types/settings as well as location to ensure a sufficient air flow throughout the mine that will dilute explosive gases to harmless levels. For this study, air flow rates were taken at 3 locations with different cross sectional areas of 19.9,21.7, 22.1ft 2 and 3 different fan settings of 10, 15, and 20 Hz. The air flow rates were determined by a 4-inch anemometer. The average volumetric flow rates at 10 Hz were 6381.3 ft 3 /min, 7052.5 ft 3 /min, 7108.8 ft 3 /min. At a fan setting of 15 Hz the average volumetric flow rates were 10,268.4 ft 3 /min, 10,285.8 ft 3 /min, 10,475.4 ft 3 /min. Lastly, at 20 Hz the volumetric flow rates were 14,739.3 ft 3 /min, 13,815.7 ft 3 /min, 14,136.6 ft 3 /min. Every curve the air went around resulted in a decrease in air flow rate because of frictional loss. The air flow lost due to friction is minimal compared to a real mine where tunneling is more complex and thousands of feet long. To account for this loss, booster fans can be installed throughout the mine to help push the air along. However, proper fan positioning and sizing is imperative in a mines success as ventilation systems account for the mines largest operating cost. Through appropriate ventilation systems in a mine, a safe work environment can be achieved while minimizing operating costs. Introduction At 11:48 pm on July 31, 2000, a series of four explosions occurred in the Willow Creek Mine in Carbon County Utah, leaving 8 miners injured and 2 deceased. 1 From the report conducted by MSHA, the bleeder ventilation system did not adequately control the air passing through the worked-out areas of the D-3 panel. 1 This resulted in the system not diluting the methane and other gaseous hydrocarbons in the worked-out areas. 1 With the increasing safety standards enforced by MSHA, fatalities in mining accidents have reached a historic low of 35 total deaths in 2009 and 2012, from an average of 1,500 or more in the mid-1900s. 2 Coal mine methane is a mixture of methane and air released during the process of coal mining.
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