SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1987

Coal Dust and Gas Explosion Suppression by Barriers


Explosion suppression barriers are devices that contain fire extinguishants that are activated to disperse at some critical point during the propagation of an explosion to suppress it. Suppression of coal dust explosions using barriers (both triggered and passive) has been investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The work reported in the present study is an update of the continuing study of passive barriers of both rigid and flexible construction. Suppressants tested were water and ABC powder (ammonium phosphate). The coal dust mixtures contained 60 to 65% total incombustible matter and were distributed in the Bureau's single entry experimental mine for a total distance of 111 m (365 ft). Dust explosions were initiated by a 7% methane-air gas zone at the face. The passive barriers were located at distances of 60 to 108 m (200 to 356 ft) from the face. At these distances, the magnitude of the explosion pressure pulse was about 0.70 to 1.14 bar (70 to 114 kPa) at the time the flame front arrived at the barrier. With the exception of the powders, the pressure pulse was sufficiently energetic to fracture the troughs and disperse the suppressants.

The powder (approximately 180 kg per test) was almost totally ineffective when used with the rigid barrier because it did not disperse. One to four troughs of water effectively suppressed explosions. It was found that the mounting arrangement for the flexible troughs was most important for successful operation and release of the suppressant.

Triggered barrier systems for protection against incipient gas explosions were tested in a simulated longwall panel. Results show that ABC powder was much more effective in suppressing the developing explosion than equal amounts of water released from the same pressurized reservoir. Although water was effective in stopping fully developed dust explosions, it had little effect against an explosion during its incipient stage.

Author Information

Ng, D
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Sapko, M
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Furno, A
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Pro, R
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
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Developed by Committee: E27
Pages: 138–151
DOI: 10.1520/STP28171S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5019-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0957-5