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Evaluation of detection and response times of fire sensors using an atmospheric monitoring system

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2016, Vol. 340, No. 1, pp. 104-112

Rowland, III, J.H.; Litton, C.D.; Thomas, R.A.



Atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS) are required when using air from conveyor belt entries to ventilate working sections in U.S. underground coal mines. AMS technology has the potential to increase fire safety mine-wide, but research is needed to determine the detection and response times for fires of a variety of combustible materials. To evaluate the potential of an AMS for fire detection in other areas of a coal mine, a series of full-scale fire experiments were conducted to determine detection and response times from fires of different combustible materials that are found in U.S. underground coal mines, including high- and low-volatility coals, conveyor belts, brattice materials, different types of wood, diesel fuel, and a foam sealant. These experiments were conducted in the Safety Research Coal Mine (SRCM) of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) located in Pittsburgh, PA, using a commercially available AMS that is typical of current technology. The results showed that through proper selection of sensors and their locations, a mine-wide AMS can provide sufficient early fire warning times and improve the health and safety of miners.