Some Investigations into the Explosibility of Mine Dust Laden Atmospheres


An investigation into different aspects of importance in the understanding of explosibility of hybrid mixtures of coal dust, air and gases potentially found within mine workings through a comprehensive laboratory program of explosibility tests was conducted. Plotting of test results revealed that conditions of potential explosibility could be described using two dimensional flammability limit surfaces for coal dust/oxygen; methane/oxygen; and coal dust/methane mixtures. From these plots, the three dimensional flammability envelopes defining the explosibility of the coal dust/methane/oxygen mixtures can be defined and illustrated for a coal sample. The surfaces of the three dimensional envelope describe limits which separate inert mixtures of coal dust and methane at varying oxygen levels from those concentrations which are ignitable under defined conditions. It is considered appropriate to generalise that the geometric shapes of these limit regions are applicable to all type classifications of coal dust. There are practical applications of these results to the underground environment. The action of free radical initiators in the propagation of a methane gas explosion was examined for its applicability to the flammability of coal dust/gas/air mixtures. The oxides of nitrogen or NOₓ radicals have influence upon the lean limits of flammability of hybrid mixtures and this is illustrated by use of three dimensional coordinate geometry. Gases can be introduced to the underground environment through the exhaust gases of diesel equipment. It is concluded that radical species can substantially increase the flammability of gas and dust flames and as a consequence raise risk of mine atmosphere explosibility.


Mining Engineering


Queensland Government's Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station, Redbank

Keywords and Phrases

Air; Coal Dust; Coal Mines; Explosibility; Gases

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1998 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 1998