Laboratory Testing of Compressed-Oxygen Self-Rescuers for Ruggedness and Reliability
Description:The Bureau of Mines subjected three commercial compressed-oxygen self-contained self-rescuers to a series of laboratory treatments designed to simulate various environmental conditions in underground coal mines. The environmental treatments consisted of extremes of temperature and of shock and vibration. The tests were designed to predict the ability of the self-rescuers to withstand those environmental stresses without causing a decrease in wearer protection. A critical concern was internal damage to an apparatus that would cause it to malfunction or seriously degrade its performance without any obvious external signs. The Bureau has previously tested chemical oxygen self-contained self-rescuers in a similar research program. Although the three compressed-oxygen units are not as sturdy as the chemical oxygen self-rescuers tested previously, they performed reliably after treatments on treadmill tests with human subjects and on machine tests using a breathing and metabolic simulator. Serious damage was caused by both the heat treat-ment of 71° C (venting of the 02 bottle in most cases), and in the shock treatment (breaking open of the case and dislodging of the components). When physical damage is obvious, a complete refurbishing of the damaged self-rescuer is recommended.
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