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Tube bundle system for monitoring of coal mine atmosphere

Mining Engineering , 2013, Vol. 65, No. 5, pp. 57-63

Zipf, R. Karl; Marchewka, W.; Mohamed, K.; Addis, J.; Karnack, F.


A tube bundle system (TBS) is a mechanical system for continuously drawing gas samples through tubes from multiple monitoring points located in an underground coal mine. The gas samples are drawn via vacuum pump to the surface and are typically analyzed for oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Results of the gas analyses are displayed and recorded for further analysis. Trends in the composition of the mine atmosphere, such as increasing methane or carbon monoxide concentration, can be detected early, permitting rapid intervention that prevents problems, such as a potentially explosive atmosphere behind seals, fire or spontaneous combustion. TBS is a well-developed technology and has been used in coal mines around the world for more than 50 years. Most longwall coal mines in Australia deploy a TBS, usually with 30 to 40 monitoring points as part of their atmospheric monitoring. The primary uses of a TBS are detecting spontaneous combustion and maintaining sealed areas inert. The TBS might also provide mine atmosphere gas composition data after a catastrophe occurs in an underground mine, if the sampling tubes are not damaged. TBSs are not an alternative to statutory gas and ventilation airflow monitoring by electronic sensors or people; rather, they are an option to consider in an overall mine atmosphere monitoring strategy. This paper describes the hardware, software and operation of a TBS and presents one example of typical data from a longwall coal mine.