Evaluation Of Mine Seals Using Ground Penetrating Radar
Description:Mine seals are used extensively in underground coal mines to segregate mined-out areas and to isolate fire zones or underground areas that are susceptible to spontaneous combustion. Over the years, 30,000 mine seals have been erected in underground coal mines in the United States. Mine seals, along with rock dusting and ventilation, represent the fundamental means of preventing underground coal mine explosions. In this study the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) used ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology to determine if each of three test mine seals were uniformly constructed. Three mine seals representing different construction methods and materials (cast-in-place foamed cement; solid block, polyurethane foam and gravel; and wire mesh, rebar and gunite) were erected at the NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory’s underground mine as part of an on-going research program. The seals were imaged using GPR with 400-, 500-, 900-, and 1,000-MHz antennas. We found that variations in uniformity existed in the material for the cast-in-place foamed cement seal. Variations in uniformity also existed in the seal made from solid block, polyurethane foam and gravel. The post-processed radar records correlated closely with recovered core samples (areas of gravel and polyurethane foam, and areas containing only polyurethane foam). Finally, the radar records of the seal made of wire mesh, rebar and gunite showed the various components. The results of this work suggest that GPR could be used as a tool to evaluate mine seal characteristics and construction uniformity.
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