The Use of Light Metals and Their Alloys in Underground Coal Mines

CIM MineSpace 2001
David J Forrester,
Abstract Light metals, most commonly aluminum, magnesium and titanium, and alloys containing them, are used in many industrial applications where lightness, hardness and ductility and resistance to corrosion are needed. However, these metals and their alloys can be potential ignition sources in underground coal mines. There have been documented cases in the past where coal mine explosions have been attributed to firedamp/coal dust ignitions involving light metals or their alloys. When light metals and their alloys are brought into contact with oxygen bearing material, such as iron oxide (rust) in the presence of heat, then a "thermite" reaction can occur. This source of heat can be generated from frictional contact or from merely a glancing blow. This paper outlines the hazards associated with light alloys, how to address the hazard and regulatory aspects.
Keywords: Ignition source, Thermite reaction, Light alloys, Aluminum, Hazard, Explosion, Coal mine
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