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Preventing Methane Ignitions At Longwall Faces; Handbook For Methane Control In Mining
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    In This Chapter [Where methane is emitted at longwall faces Where methane accumulates at longwall faces Using the modified shearer-clearer to eliminate ventilation eddy zones Using a walkway curtain to reduce methane buildup during the headgate cutout Control of frictional ignitions and The best location for the methane monitor] The methane released along a longwall face represents only 10%-20% of the total methane emitted from the entire longwall panel. Nevertheless, in very gassy coal seams, this methane released at the face can pose a problem because the shearer is a ready ignition source. Preventing methane ignitions at longwall faces requires four actions. The first is to provide better ventilation around the shearer to eliminate the ventilation eddy zones at the drums where methane builds up. These eddy zones are eliminated by mounting additional water sprays on the shearer to direct air into them. The second action to prevent methane ignitions is to install a water spray behind each cutter bit and regularly replace worn bits. Water sprays behind each cutter bit act to quench the hot metal streak that follows a worn bit when it strikes rock. The third is to ensure that no ventilation eddy zones are inadvertently created by poor placement of water sprays. The fourth is to ensure that the methane monitor on the shearer is in the best location to detect methane accumulations. ADDRESSING METHANE ACCUMULATIONS AT LONGWALL FACES3 Cecala et al. [1985a, 1989] and Denk and Wirth [1991] studied methane emission and ventilation patterns at longwall faces to find where methane accumulations are most likely. Although not always the case, the major source of methane at longwall faces is usually the breakage of coal by the shearer. Stress-related fracturing of the coal seam at the face, called bumps or bounces, can cause the release of additional gas (Figure 4-1).

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