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A Second-Generation Remote Optical Methanometer - RI 9640
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  • Description:
    As the use of deep -rut mining increases, there - expected to be a greater demand for methane (CH,) measurement devices capable of scanning working faces al depths in excess of 10 m to alert mine personnel of hazardous concentrations of CH and to satisfy regulatory requirements. Remote optical devices offer the most promise to satisfy these objectives while the operator remains safely under supported roof. A second¬-generation remote Optical methanomeor (ROM) bas been designed and Is undergoing laboratory evaluation at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It operates on the principle of differential absorption of the "u;' fundamental absorption band of CH, centered at 3.31 um in the infrared region of the spectrum. The new instrument differs from the previous prototypes by the replacement of the two hand pass differential absorption technique of measurement with a single filter gas correlation technique and a refinement of the amplifier and gating circuitry used within the unit. This results in a more accurate isolation of the CH, spectral absorption band centered at 3.31 um. A specially designed 0.4m-diam variable-length gas mixing tunnel was constructed and instrumented with CH4 sampling capability to calibrate the ROM. Experiments have demonstrated the ability of the detector to respond to various conditions of CH, (pn•m) at distances as great as 12 m. Thermal radiation generated within the instrument is the controlling factor in the drift of the output signal nod, therefore the reliability of the instrument. Several approaches to reduce this extraneous radiation interfering moth the infrared detector, described, such as the installation of a fan in the instrument and thermoelectric coolers on the detector's beat sink. Implementation of this technology will significantly improve the safely of miners.

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