Scaled Cloud Model for Released Toxic Fumes
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Scaled Cloud Model for Released Toxic Fumes

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    Recognizing the dynamic nature and possible range of toxic concentrations in the impending fume cloud prior to undertaking explosive blasting can reduce potential hazards and mitigate related incidents. The scaled cloud model was formulated to predict the relevant (major) toxic components in fume clouds released by nonideal mining explosives used for surface blasting. Natural turbulence unceasingly disperses the toxic molecules, widening (inflating) the fume cloud while diluting the concentrations, ultimately rendering nonhazardous conditions. The threshold cloud size depends upon the type and quantity of total explosives used and the cloud's thermodynamic condition. Though the scaled theory works for fume clouds with irregular (odd) shape, an equivalent upright cylindrical form is useful for rendering simple risk hazard scenarios. The cylinder's projection downward on the underlying terrain yields a circular 'shadow' marking the region threatened, thereby permitting a rough estimation of the potential hazards, were the cloud to settle down there. Wind causes the cloud to drift while it expands, so the shadow travels while it grows, until the risk hazard process is truncated at the nonhazardous threshold. The overall relative fume toxicity (RFT) is taken from the traditional Russian RFT rule, which utilizes only the two fume components that tend to dominate the resultant toxicity: carbon monoxide (CO) and total nitrogen oxides (NOx). Tabulated constants that characterize the fume spectrum in the cloud model were resolved for ammonium nitrate (94%) with fuel oil (6%), ANFO-94/6, using a refined thermodynamic work-principle. Comparable results were found with the reduction factor technique, when test results from the underground fume chamber were readjusted to reflect nominal field shooting conditions.
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