A Capacitance Meter for Measuring Total Airborne Coal Dust Concentrations


A dust concentration meter has been developed with Australian coal industry support for the measurement of total airborne dust concentrations capable of causing explosions in underground coal mines. The instrument, The University of Queensland Dust Meter (UQDM), measures the effective dielectric constant of a mixture of coal dust and air that is drawn between the plates of a capacitor, the capacitance of which is measured by a ratio-transformer bridge and synchronous detector system. This technique measures small changes in capacitance to approximately 1 part in 106. The unique design of the capacitor sensor permits a precise volume of coal dust and air mixture to be sampled. This arrangement overcomes difficulties inherent in optical dust measurement. The meter is portable, battery powered, incorporates data logging and has intrinsic safety approval. The operation of the meter is discussed. The system is designed to monitor dust concentrations along a coal mining face and provide concentration profiles leading to the development of suppression strategies. If data from underground tests are available, the meter's potential to contribute to establishing safe working conditions underground will be discussed. Other areas of potential application of the measurement technique are also examined.

Meeting Name

6th US Mine Ventilation Symposium (1993: Jun. 21-23, Salt Lake City, UT)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Australia; Coal; Dust Concentration Meter; Mines

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1993 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

23 Jun 1993

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