IMPLEMENTATION OF A HYBRID BRATTICE TO CONTROL DUST DISPERSION IN UNDERGROUND COAL MINE FACES

World Mining Congress

J. C. Kurnia 1,2 and A. S. Mujumdar 1,2,3*

1Department of Mechanical Engineering

National University of Singapore

9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576

(First author: kurnia.jc@gmail.com)

2Minerals Metals and Material Technology Centre

National University of Singapore

9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576

(*Corresponding author: mpeasm@nus.edu.sg)

3Department of Bioresource Engineering

McGill University

111 Lakeshore Road Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada H9X 3V9

Presence of fine dust in air causes serious health hazard for mine operators resulting in such serious problems as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis. Major sources of dust appear of course along the mining face where the minerals are extracted. Proper control and management are required to ensure safe working environment in the mine. Presented here is the use of a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) approach to investigate the flow and dust behaviour in mining tunnels. The objective of this study is to propose and examine various strategies to mitigate dust dispersion from the mining face and reduce dust concentration to a safe level for the operator.

In a companion study, the authors investigated various methods for mitigating dust dispersion from the mining face to ensure safe dust concentration levels in the mine tunnel. Among the examined methods, implementation of brattice to direct the flow from the main airway to the mining face is the most effective method to disperse dust particles away from the mining face. The installation of brattice, however, will limit the movement of mine operators and vehicles in the tunnel. Hence, application of a hybrid brattice which is a combination of a physical brattice along with suitable directed and located air curtains is proposed and examined. Based on the CFD simulation results, over a range of parameters of interest, it was found that the physical brattice blocks the ventilation air and directs it to the mine face while an air curtain located along the brattice outlet offers flexibility in keeping the dust away from the operator allowing more freedom for the operator and the equipment. Results of the modelling over a range of parameters of interest are presented and discussed with the goal of managing dust concentrations within safe limits for the operator.
Keywords: Dust; mining; Air; Dust concentrations; Tunnels; Ventilation; Mines;
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