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Examination of a newly developed mobile dry scrubber (DS) for coal mine dust control applications

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2016, Vol. 340, No. 1, pp. 38-47

Organiscak, J.; Noll, J.; Yantek, D.



The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH OMSHR) conducted laboratory testing of a self-tramming, remotely controlled mobile Dry Scrubber (DS) that J.H. Fletcher and Co. developed under a contract with NIOSH OMSHR to reduce the exposure of miners to airborne dust. The scrubber was found to average greater than 95 percent dust removal efficiency with disposable filters, and 88 and 90 percent, respectively, with optional washable filters in their prewash and post-wash test conditions. Although the washable filters can be reused, washing them generated personal and downstream respirable dust concentrations of 1.2 and 8.3 mg/m3, respectively, for a 10-min washing period. The scrubber’s velocity-pressure-regulated variable-frequency-drive fan maintained relatively consistent airflow near the targeted 1.42 and 4.25 m3/s (3,000 and 9,000 ft3/min) airflow rates during most of the laboratory dust testing until reaching its maximum 60-Hz fan motor frequency or horsepower rating at 2,610 Pa (10.5 in. w.g.) of filter differential pressure and 3.97 m3/s (8,420 ft3/min) of scrubber airflow quantity. Laboratory sound level measurements of the scrubber showed that the outlet side of the scrubber was noisier, and the loaded filters increased sound levels compared with clean filters at the same airflow quantities. With loaded filters, the scrubber reached a 90 dB(A) sound level at 2.83 m3/s (6,000 ft3/min) of scrubber airflow, indicating that miners should not be overexposed in relation to MSHA’s permissible exposure level — under Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 62.101— of 90 dB(A) at or below this airflow quantity. The scrubber’s washable filters were not used during field-testing because of their lower respirable dust removal efficiency and the airborne dust generated by filter washing. Field-testing the scrubber with disposable filters at two underground coal mine sections showed that it could clean a portion of the section return air and provide dust reduction of about 50 percent at the face area downstream of the continuous-miner operation.