Respirable Coal Dust Control Using Surfactants


Most coal dusts are generated when coal is being cut in the face area. With the increasing popularity of highly productive mechanized longwall sections, dust in areas where miners work has become a major concern. Field applications show that existing dust control technology is more effective in controlling coarser dust particles than finer ones (<3 µm). Other means of controlling small dust particles are needed. Laboratory studies have been conducted to re-examine the use of surfactants in controlling these fine dust particles. Since the effectiveness of surfactants depends on both the type of coal and the type of surfactant used, tests show that nonionic surfactants in general proved to be the best because of their superior wetting ability of coal through a proper balance between hydrophilic head groups and lipophilic tail groups, and their insensitivity to the water environment. Results also show that this coal wettability can be enhanced through the addition of bases such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Results also show that the most effective surfactants increased the ability to suppress overall coal dust levels by up to 93 percent when compared with plain water. More importantly, the best surfactant suppressed fine dust particles (<3 µm) up to 125 percent more effectively than plain water. Effectiveness for different types of coals is also influenced by sulfur content.

Meeting Name

Second International Conference on the Health of Miners


Mining Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1047-322X; 1521-0898

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1997 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1997