An Experimental Approach to the Determination of Explosible Lean Limits for Coal Dust and Methane Mixtures


A current program of research on the explosibility of coal dust/methane mixtures is described. During the study an explosion test chamber based on a novel design has been developed. This 20 litre open chamber uses a rotating drum concept for dust dispersion and infra-red sensors for dust concentration measurement. The chamber design allows different initiators to be tested while varying methane gas and coal dust concentrations. A new approach to the determination of coal dust concentration is included with a description of a dielectric dust probe. The measurement technique is based on the change in dielectric constant as the proportion of coal dust in air between probe capacitor plates increases or decreases. Characterization of coal dust samples is of vital importance. The particle size distribution, coal proximate analysis and elemental analysis were studied. Coal dust was sourced from airborne collected samples, settled dust from mine sources and seam channel samples crushed and sized. Explosibility test results indicate that a very low concentration of coal dust can form and explosible mixture when dispersed in methane concentration of just below five percent. With low temperature initiators, the coal dust lean limit concentration rises rapidly as the methane concentration is reduced. An accurate knowledge of the potential explosion hazards of coal dust and coal/dust methane mixture is necessary to establish safe operating conditions in underground mines. The research results outlined extend knowledge in this area.

Meeting Name

4th US Mine Ventilation Symposium (1989: Jun. 5-7, Berkeley, CA)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Coal Dust; Explosibility; Methane

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1989 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

07 Jun 1989

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