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Impact of face ventilation and nitrogen inertization on hazardous gas distribution in bleederless longwall gobs

Mining Engineering , 2013, Vol. 65, No. 9, pp. 71-77

Marts, J.; Brune, J.; Gilmore, R.; Worrall, D.; Grubb, J.


Underground longwall coal mining sections are operated as sealed gobs if the coal is prone to spontaneous combustion. Sealing along the gate roads during longwall face retreat limits the flow of fresh air (oxygen) into the gob and, thus, deprives the spontaneous combustion reaction of oxygen. In a project sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), researchers at the Colorado School of Mines have used computational fluid dynamics modeling to simulate the flow of gases in sealed longwall gobs. The models were validated using measurements and observations from the field and demonstrate that targeted injection of nitrogen along the gate roads inby the face can be used to control the size and location of explosive methane clouds within the gob and to minimize or eliminate the explosion hazard resulting from the formation of flammable methane-air mixtures.