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In-mine study of high-expansion firefighting foam

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2010, Vol. 328, No. 1, pp. 507-516

Chasko, L.L.; Conti, R.S.; Derick, R.L.; Krump, M.R.; Lazzara, C.P.; Lazzara, C.P.


A mine fire is one of the most challenging safety issues facing a mine operator and can occur at any location underground. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Twentymile Coal Mine, CO, conducted in-mine experiments to determine the capability of high-expansion foam for addressing underground fires. The tests were conducted in sloping entries with high-capacity diesel-powered foam generators. The following results were observed: a well-designed, maintained and properly operated high-expansion foam generator can propagate a foam plug hundreds of feet in steep upward-sloping (20%) multiple entries against a ventilation pressure; stoppings and partitions designed to contain the foam plug in upward-sloping entries must be substantially constructed; and the predicted quantity of foam concentrate can be significantly less than the actual amount used, due to foam losses, such as bubble breakage on dry surfaces. This paper describes the production of high-expansion firefighting foam and discusses the in-mine experimental tests and results.