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Airborne Dust Liberation During Coal Crushing
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    Airborne dust generation is one of the byproducts of coal mining, processing, and handling. The amount of airborne total dust (ATD, respirable size and larger) and airborne respirable dust (ARD) generated is of primary interest for designing the level of engineering controls needed for adequate dust abatement. Laboratory crushing experiments were conducted in a wind tunnel with a roll crusher to identify relationships among crushing parameters, product size, coal rank properties, and airborne dust generation. Through the first series of experiments, the effect of primary and secondary breakage processes on both product size and airborne dust generation was examined. Through a second series of experiments, the effect of coal rank properties on product size and airborne dust generation was studied using a uniform crushing process with secondary breakage. Laboratory results indicate that secondary breakage of a particular coal notably increases the specific amount of ATD generated, while negligibly impacting the specific amount of ARD generated. A strong positive relationship was identified between the specific amounts of ATD and ARD generated during the primary breakage process (with minimal secondary breakage), but a negligible relationship was observed between the same two variables when secondary breakage was introduced into the crushing process. This indicates that most of the ATD and ARD is generated from the primary breakage, while secondary breakage has a more of an influence on generating additional amounts of larger sized ATD. Additional experiments involving the uniform crushing of eight different bituminous coals showed that the coal rank, expressed as the inherent moist fuel ratio (MFR = fixed carbon =(volatile x inherent moisture)), had diverse relationships between the product size created and the amount of airborne dust generated. As bituminous coal rank or MFR increased, the amount of coal product fines < 250 gm increased while the mass percentage of ATD and ARD liberated from these < 250 µm product fines decreased. Air dry loss (ADL) moisture in the coal was found to be inversely related to the dust cloud electrostatic field, influencing dust liberation from the coal product fines. Since the MFR was directly related to the dust cloud electrostatic field, opposite the ADL-electrostatic field relationship, the diverse relationships between the product size created and the amount of dust liberated from the < 250 µm product fines were explained. Finally, 12 to 14 times more ATD was generated as compared to the ARD generated during these experiments. These results should provide a fundamental basis for initial estimation of the airborne dust loading requirements of engineering control methods for coal crushing.
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