Large-Scale Studies of Spontaneous Combustion of Coal
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines constructed a large-scaJe facility to study the self-heating of a large coal mass under conditions that simulate a gob area of a mine. The insulated coal chamber can hold up to 13 short tons (st) of coal and is provided with a forced ventilation system and computer-controlled temperature and gas measurement systems to monitor the heat and mass transfer phenomena that occur in the coalbed. Three experiments were completed with high-volatile C bituminous coals that exhibited high spontaneous combustion potentials in laboratory-scale tests. In the first two tests, a sustained heating was not achieved. In the third test, temperatures throughout the coalbed increased steadily from the start, with thermal runaway occurring near the center of the coalbed after 23 days. The thermal reaction wne then moved toward the front of the coalbed. The results of these tests showed that the self-heating of a large coal mass depends not just on the reactivity of the coal, but also on the particle size of the coal, the freshness of the coal surfaces, the heat-of-wetting effect, and the availability of O2 at optimum ventilation rates.
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