Sampling and analysis method for measuring airborne coal dust mass in mixtures with limestone (rock) dust
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Sampling and analysis method for measuring airborne coal dust mass in mixtures with limestone (rock) dust
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Occup Environ Hyg
  • Description:
    Airborne coal dust mass measurements in underground bituminous coal mines can be challenged by the presence of airborne limestone dust, which is an incombustible dust applied to prevent the propagation of dust explosions. To accurately measure the coal portion of this mixed airborne dust, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a sampling and analysis protocol that used a stainless steel cassette adapted with an isokinetic inlet and the low temperature ashing (LTA) analytical method. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) routinely utilizes this LTA method to quantify the incombustible content of bulk dust samples collected from the roof, floor, and ribs of mining entries. The use of the stainless steel cassette with isokinetic inlet allowed NIOSH to adopt the LTA method for the analysis of airborne dust samples. Mixtures of known coal and limestone dust masses were prepared in the laboratory, loaded into the stainless steel cassettes, and analyzed to assess the accuracy of this method. Coal dust mass measurements differed from predicted values by an average of 0.5%, 0.2%, and 0.1% for samples containing 20%, 91%, and 95% limestone dust, respectively. The ability of this method to accurately quantify the laboratory samples confirmed the validity of this method and allowed NIOSH to successfully measure the coal fraction of airborne dust samples collected in an underground coal mine.
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