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Impact of aging on the performance of impactor and sharp-cut cyclone size selectors for DPM sampling

Mining Engineering , 2018, Vol. 70, No. 8, pp. 43-49

Gaillard, S.; Sarver, E.; Cauda, E.



Diesel particulate matter (DPM) is an occupational health hazard in underground mines. It generally occurs in the submicrometer size range and is often present in the mine atmosphere with significant concentrations of dust particles that tend to occur in the supramicrometer size range. As dust can interfere with analytical methods to measure DPM, it is often removed from a sample stream using an impactor-type size selector such as the DPM impactor (DPMI). Because the DPMI physically removes oversized particles from the stream, its performance may be gradually reduced with aging. Sharp-cut cyclones (SCCs) are an alternative size selector for DPM sampling applications, with a major advantage that, by design, they should not be susceptible to rapid aging. This paper presents the results of a field study designed to compare the performance of aged versus new/clean DPMIs and SCCs in an underground mine. DPMI aging resulted in clogging of the device and, eventually, a reduction of its effective particle cut size, but when sample flow rate was maintained, DPM sample mass collection was not affected until significant aging had occurred. Under the conditions of this study, the effects of SCC aging were observed to be minimal at the end of the study period.