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Facts About Methane That Are Important To Mine Safety; Handbook For Methane Control In Mining
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    In This Chapter [The explosibility of methane gas mixtures Effect of pressure and temperature on explosibility Less common sources of methane ignitions The amount of methane stored in coal Forecasting the methane emission rate Layering of methane at the mine roof When the recirculation of mine air is hazardous The importance of higher air velocity in preventing methane explosions and Mine explosions, barometric pressure, and the seasonal trend in explosions] Dealing with methane in mines and tunnels requires knowledge of the circumstances under which dangerous accumulations of methane are likely to occur. This knowledge involves the properties of the gas itself, an awareness of where these accumulations are likely to occur, and facts on how methane mixes safely into the mine air. The other chapters in this handbook address the handling of methane under a variety of specific circumstances, such as at continuous miner faces or coal storage silos. This chapter addresses some broad concepts that serve as a foundation for the suggestions provided in other chapters. THE EXPLOSIBILITY OF METHANE GAS MIXTURES Methane entering a mine or tunnel often enters as a localized source at high concentration. Figure 1-1 depicts a cloud of methane being diluted into a moving air stream. In this illustration, methane enters the mine from a crack in the roof. As the methane emerges from the crack, it progressively mixes with the ventilation air and is diluted. In the event that this progressive dilution reduces the concentration from 100% to 1%,2 as shown in Figure 1-1, the methane passes through a concentration range of 15% to 5%, known as the explosive range. In the explosive range, the mixture may be ignited. Above 15%, called the upper explosive limit (UEL), methane-air mixtures are not explosive, but will become explosive when mixed with more air.

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