Finding the effect of ventilation on conveyor belt fire suppression systems
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Finding the effect of ventilation on conveyor belt fire suppression systems

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  • Description:
    On June 1, 2004, the underground coal mine ventilation safety standards under the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 30, Part 75) became effective for the use of a conveyor belt entry as an intake air course to ventilate working sections. These standards, also known as the Belt Air Rule, contained a section which limited the air velocity in the conveyor belt entry to no greater than 500 feet per minute unless otherwise approved by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration in the fire suppression system section of a mine’s ventilation plan. The Belt Air Rule included a requirement dictating compatibility of air velocity with fire suppression systems. The final rule of limiting air velocity in the belt entry was challenged in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court granted that petition and vacated the requirement on the air velocity cap, according to MSHA. The removal of the air velocity cap from the final rule, paired with the compatibility requirement, led to a need for research on high air velocity’s influence on fire suppression system performance in belt entries. Test data was needed that illustrated the relationship between fire suppression system performance and air velocity, especially with the increased use of wider belts in underground coal mines, so National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and MSHA collaborated to obtain the data. However, this work was initiated before the revised Belt Air Rule was promulgated on December 31, 2008, when 1000 fpm air velocity became a requirement. Four different
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