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Foam property tests to evaluate the potential for longwall shield dust control

Mining Engineering , 2018, Vol. 70, No. 1, pp. 35-41

Reed, W.R.; Beck, T.W.; Zheng, Y.; Klima, S.; Driscoll, J.



Tests were conducted to determine properties of four foam agents for their potential use in longwall mining dust control. Foam has been tried in underground mining in the past for dust control and is currently being reconsidered for use in underground coal longwall operations in order to help those operations comply with the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s lower coal mine respirable dust standard of 1.5 mg/m3. Foams were generated using two different methods. One method used compressed air and water pressure to generate foam, while the other method used low-pressure air generated by a blower and water pressure using a foam generator developed by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Foam property tests, consisting of a foam expansion ratio test and a water drainage test, were conducted to classify foams. Compressed-air-generated foams tended to have low expansion ratios, from 10 to 19, with high water drainage. Blower-air-generated foams had higher foam expansion ratios, from 30 to 60, with lower water drainage. Foams produced within these ranges of expansion ratios are stable and potentially suitable for dust control. The test results eliminated two foam agents for future testing because they had poor expansion ratios. The remaining two foam agents seem to have properties adequate for dust control. These material property tests can be used to classify foams for their potential use in longwall mining dust control.