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Development Of Coal Mine Face Ventilation Systems During The 20th Century
  • Published Date:
    0/1/1900
Filetype[PDF-2.35 MB]


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  • Description:
    During the 20th century, the increased emphasis on worker health and safety and the advent of new mining equipment and methods led to many changes in mine face ventilation practices. Efforts by government and private industry to improve and modify ventilation practices resulted in better health and safety conditions for workers. This article focuses on U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research to examine factors that had a significant influence on mine face ventilation design during the past century. Several "milestone" events are discussed along with the impact they had on worker health and safety. Significant ventilation research efforts by government and private industry are presented. This brief ventilation history highlights innovative face ventilation designs and a consistent commitment to mining health and safety. Ventilation has always been a concern in underground coal mining. For many yeas, there was no appreciation of how ventilation could be used to remove harmful contaminants from the air or how to control airflow quantities. The first known problems with ventilation date back to the 14th century, when it was recognized that lack of air was a major impediment to the expansion of mines. The common method of solving ventilation problems at that time was to abandon the existing mine and start a new one nearby. Ventilation in the early days of coal mining was accomplished by means of a natural draft, created principally by a difference in the weights of columns of air between the intake and return openings. Later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a furnace was introduced underground to increase the updraft in the return shaft. This allowed for a larger quantity of air in circulation. When mines went deeper and became larger, mechanical ventilation became necessary and was first accomplished by steam-driven fans. These fans became more prevalent as furnaces were prohibited in underground mines, especially after the Avondale disaster in Pennsylvania in 1869 (Roy, 1876). Eventually, these fans were replaced by more powerful, electrically [ ]

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