Projectile Impact Testing Of A Concrete Coal Mine Seal Rated For 120 Psi


The mining of underground coal presents several hazards for miners, including the risk of an explosion fueled by methane gas and coal dust. Methane gas, produced during coal formation, can continuously leak into old workings and build up through its lower explosive limit. Underground coal mines are required to maintain safe conditions, either by ventilating old workings or sealing them off using approved methods. Seals must be designed to withstand instantaneous pressures for a minimum of four seconds. A design strength of at least 50 pounds per square inch (psi) is required for atmospheres monitored and maintained inert, 120 psi for non-inert or not monitored, and greater than 120 psi for special cases. Due to the high cost and testing environment availability, most mine seals are designed through calculations and computer modeling and not subjected to full-scale testing in a representative environment. High pressure is not the only threat that mine seals may be exposed to. During an underground explosion, pressure waves and gas expansion may propel common mine items and objects to a high velocity, generating enough energy to damage mine seals and reduce their strength. Damaged mine seals may fail to contain their rated pressure, allow high pressure gas and fumes to vent through the seal during an explosion, or allow gasses to leak through the seal later after an explosion has occurred. This paper examines the effects of high velocity impacts of common mine materials and items on a reinforced mine seal rated to 120 psi.


Mining Engineering


Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

Coal mining; Construction; Explosions; Impact testing; Mine seals

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2524-3470; 2524-3462

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2023