Application of water mist to fuel-rich fires in model coal mine entries

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Virginia Tech

As the nature of coal mInmg changes, to higher production associated with higher mechanization, the way in which mine safety is approached must also change. This situation was clearly shown in a very devastating coal mine fire in late 1984. In the absence of effective fire-fighting procedures and equipment the affected mine was quickly rendered helpless. Of particular concern with coal mine fires is the possibility of entering a fuel-rich state. In this state current practices have proven to be of little use in gaining control over the conflagration. Recent experiences with the application of water mist to industrial fires has shown that use of fog can be an efficacious agent in controlling large scale fires. The postulations of this phenomenon concern the ability of the water, as a fog, to get deeply within the fire structure. In this manner it works to remove the three legs of the fire triangle~ heat, oxygen, and fuel. The research contained in this thesis dwells in three associated areas. These are: the general theory of water mist application relative to current practices~ the design and construction of a fire tunnel for experimental work; and the results obtained from experiments with fuel-rich fires in the simulated coal mine entry. The results of this research are most encouraging, not only for the more devastating fuelrich fires, but also for application from the onset of fire fighting activities in the coal mine environment.

Coal mines - Fire-fighting methods