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Empirical engineering models for airborne respirable dust capture from water sprays and wet scrubbers

Mining Engineering , 2018, Vol. 70, No. 10, pp. 50-57

Organiscak, J.A.; Klima, S.S.; Pollock, D.E.



Airborne respirable coal dust capture by water sprays or wet scrubbers has been studied and developed over many decades as an engineering control to reduce dust exposure in coal mines and combat coal worker pneumoconiosis. Empirical relationships and deterministic models for particular dust capture experiments have previously been devised to show the key parameters involved in airborne coal dust capture. Many of the results from these models show that the significant parameters related to airborne dust capture are water spray pressure, water quantity, water droplet size, relative water droplet-to-dust particle velocity, and total operating air pressure of the scrubber. However, many airborne dust capture efficiency relationships and models developed for particular experiments cannot be readily applied to forecast the dust collection efficiency of different spray and scrubber design configurations, which rely on several key dimensional engineering measures. This study examines engineering measures from previous water spray and wet scrubber experiments conducted by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) to develop empirical models for wet collection of airborne dusts. A dimensionless empirical model developed for predicting airborne dust capture efficiency of water sprays and wet scrubbers is presented.