Vibration Enhanced Flooded Bed Dust Scrubber with Liquid-Coated Mesh Screen

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Virginia Tech


Respirable coal mine dust (RCMD) is one of the biggest occupational health hazards. Dusty mining environments can cause life-threatening respiratory health problems for coal miners known as black lung. Over the last 20 years, the flooded bed dust scrubber (FBS) has been employed as an integral component of dust control strategies for underground continuous mining operations. These units have been shown to be effective and robust in mining environments; however, several technical challenges and knowledge gaps limit their performance and efficiency. Despite the capability of the FBS, there are numerous technical challenges that limit its performance and efficiency. In particular, the static panel filter, instrumental in most scrubber designs, is fundamentally limited in collection efficiency and causes numerous operational challenges including rapid clogging. Furthermore, the current design of the filter panel is not capable of evenly wetting the entire surface area. This allows dust-laden air to pass through the filter media and decreases the cleaning capability of the FBS. In this research, both a lab-scale and a full-scale vibration-enhanced FBS with a liquid-coated filter panel were designed, manufactured, and tested. The results confirmed that a vibration-induced filter panel enhances dust collection performance and reduces mesh clogging. In addition, laboratory-scale mesh clogging tests showed that a hydrophilic mesh provided superior clogging mitigation and better performance. Typical results from bench-scale tests showed notable improvements in dust collection efficiencies by over 6% in wet condition and over 7% in dry condition while reducing mass accumulation in the filter by almost 10% in wet condition and over 40% in dry condition. The prototype testing was less conclusive, with deviations between the static mesh and vibrating mesh depending on the mesh density and operating conditions. Nevertheless, with the highest mesh density tested (30-layer), the vibrating mesh notably outperformed the static mesh with superior collection efficiency and reduced airflow loss. The system was further analyzed to investigate the size-by-size recovery of dust particles to various endpoints in the scrubber, under both vibrating and static conditions. Results show that while a majority of the particles are recovered into the demister sump, nearly a quarter of the dust mass is recovered upstream of the screen. In addition, the data confirm that vibration prompts notable improvements to collection efficiency, particularly in the finest size class (- 2.5 micron).



Respirable coal mine dust, Flooded bed dust scrubber, Vibrating mesh filter, Filter surface modification