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Open access

Nikodem Szlązak and Czesław Kubaczka

An increase in concentration of coal output in Polish hard coal mines contributes to a significant increase in absolute methane-bearing capacity in mining areas. Measurements of methane concentration were taken in selected longwall faces in order to estimate the influence of coal output on methane hazard. The measurements were taken from 2006 to 2008 in 8 longwalls in mines with high methane hazard. The parameters for longwalls where measurements were taken are presented in table 1. Average daily output ranged from 1380 to 2320 Mg: however the maximum daily output amounted to 5335 Mg. Absolute methane-bearing capacity ranged from 4.44 to 56.41 m3/min. Longwalls were ventilated with a U and Y system and their ventilation schemes are presented in figure 1. The period of measurements ranged from 29 to 384 days. The results obtained were used to determine the influence of changes in output on methane hazard.

For each longwall under research statistical estimation of parameters, such as: ventilation air methane (VAM) emission, amount of methane captured by a drainage system, absolute methane-bearing capacity and an advance of longwall face was conducted. In order to determine the influence of a longwall face advance on methane-bearing capacity the probabilistic model of the distribution of those parameters on the basis of the measurement results was used.

In order to determine the dependence between ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage, absolute methane-bearing capacity and longwall advance, the distribution of analysed variables was checked by means of Kolmogorow-Smirnov normality test. The results of this test are presented in table 2. Table 3 presents values for correlation co-efficient r(x,y). When analyzing the results presented in table 3 it must be observed that in case of most longwalls there is a high correlation between ventilation air methane emission, absolute methane-bearing capacity and longwall advance. However, in longwalls N-10 i W-5 the correlation between methane drainage capture and longwall advance is equally strong. In all other longwalls the correlation is average. In all cases the correlations were positive, which means that together with an increase in advance, there is also an increase in ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage capture and absolute methane-bearing capacity

On the basis of determination co-efficient it can be concluded that in cases under consideration at least half (about 50%) of results, ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage capture and absolute methane-bearing capacity can be explained linearly by an influence of longwall advance, while this statement can be assumed with the probability close to 100%.

It should also be added that the lack of very high or full correlations means that examined parameters do not fully show linear dependence; however there might be other functional correlations. Because of a complex character of phenomena happening during mining it is not possible to determine full correlations. However, the interpretation of results allows us to claim that an influence of wall advance on methane emission amounts to 30 to 70% depending on a given case. Therefore, other factors, for example geological ones, which were not taken into consideration, will contribute to the level of methane hazard.

Table 4 presents determined co-efficients of linear regression. On the basis of the data in table 4, an equation describing the dependence of absolute methane-bearing capacity in a longwall on a longwall advance in the form (11) can be formed. Table 5 presents determined co-efficients of non-linear regression. On the basis of the data in table 5, an equation describing the dependence of absolute methane-bearing capacity in a longwall on a longwall advance in the form (13) can be formed.

When comparing co-efficient R2 of the contribution of the explained variance in tables 4 and 5 it can be obcserved that non-linear dependence explains better the results of mining measurements. The similar dependence presenting methane emission as dependent on output is suggested by Myszor (1985). The conditions for safe mining can be given for a determined methane emission.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak, Dariusz Obracaj, Justyna Swolkień and Kazimierz Piergies

Abstract

In Polish underground mines in which excavations are subjected to high heat load, central and group cooling systems based on indirect cooling units are implemented. Chilled water, referred to as cold water and produced in chillers, is distributed through a pipeline network to air coolers located in mining and development districts. The coolers are often moved to other locations and the pipeline network undergoes constant modification. In such a system, parameters of cold water in different branches of the pipeline network need to be controlled.

The article presents the principles for controlling the cooling capacity of air coolers installed in an underground mine. Also, the authors propose automatic control of water flow rate in underground pipeline network and in particular coolers, depending on the temporary cooling load in the system. The principles of such a system, controlling cold water distribution, and the functions of its individual components are described. Finally, an example of an automatic control of water flow rate in a central cooling system currently implemented in a mine is presented.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak and Kazimierz Piergies

Abstract

Underground fires in coal mines belong to the most common hazards, the exposure to which frequently requires long term and costly rescue operations. It is mainly connected with the specific character of underground excavations which have limited volume. This makes the maximum permissible concentration of harmful gases rapidly exceeded and may also cause changes in air flow direction. The most certain way of improving a safety situation in Polish coal mining industry is taking early prevention steps. One of the prevention methods is inertisation of the atmosphere in longwall goaf. These activities rely on partial or total replacement of air or combustible atmosphere by inert gas. Thanks to them the risk of spontaneous fires hazard and gas explosion decreases. The main reason for the use of inert gases is to reduce the oxygen content to a limit which prevents further development of fire. This article presents methods for assessing inert gas to replace oxygen in the atmosphere in goaf.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak and Marek Korzec

Abstract

Methane has a bad influence on safety in underground mines as it is emitted to the air during mining works. Appropriate identification of methane hazard is essential to determining methane hazard prevention methods, ventilation systems and methane drainage systems. Methane hazard is identified while roadways are driven and boreholes are drilled. Coalbed methane content is one of the parameters which is used to assess this threat. This is a requirement according to the Decree of the Minister of Economy dated 28 June 2002 on work safety and hygiene, operation and special firefighting protection in underground mines. For this purpose a new method for determining coalbed methane content in underground coal mines has been developed. This method consists of two stages - collecting samples in a mine and testing the sample in the laboratory. The stage of determining methane content in a coal sample in a laboratory is essential. This article presents the estimation of measurement uncertainty of determining methane content in a coal sample according to this methodology.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak and Justyna Swolkień

Abstract

Methane drainage is used in Polish coal mines in order to reduce mine methane emission as well as to keep methane concentration in mine workings at safe levels.

The article describes the method of methane drainage used in longwall D-2 in seam 410. In Poland, coal seams are frequently mined under difficult geological conditions in the roof and in the presence of very high methane hazard. In such situations, mines usually use a system with roof caving and a U ventilation system, which means that methane is drawn off from a tail entry behind the longwall front. In this system, boreholes are drilled from a tailgate and methane is drawn off from behind longwall face.

The article shows the influence of a specific ventilation system on the drainage efficiency at longwall D-2 in seam 410. At this longwall, measurements of methane emission and the efficiency of methane capture were conducted. They consisted in gauging methane concentration, air velocity, absolute air pressure and the amount of methane captured by the drainage system. Experimental data were used to estimate the variations in absolute methane-bearing capacity and ventilation methane, and – most importantly – to gauge the efficiency of methane drainage.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak, Dariusz Obracaj and Marek Korzec

Abstract

Mining progress in underground mines cause the ongoing movement of working areas. Consequently, it becomes necessary to adapt the ventilation network of a mine to direct airflow into newly-opened districts. For economic reasons, opening new fields is often achieved via underground workings. Length of primary intake and return routes increases and also increases the total resistance of a complex ventilation network. The development of a subsurface structure can make it necessary to change the air distribution in a ventilation network. Increasing airflow into newly-opened districts is necessary. In mines where extraction does not entail gas-related hazards, there is possibility of implementing a push-pull ventilation system in order to supplement airflows to newly developed mining fields. This is achieved by installing subsurface fan stations with forcing fans at the bottom of downcast shaft. In push-pull systems with multiple main fans, it is vital to select forcing fans with characteristic curves matching those of the existing exhaust fans to prevent undesirable mutual interaction. In complex ventilation networks it is necessary to calculate distribution of airflow (especially in networks with a large number of installed fans). In the article the influence of applying additional forcing fans for the air distribution in ventilation network for underground mine were considered. There are also analysed the extent of overpressure caused by the additional forcing fan in branches of the ventilation network (the operating range of additional forcing fan). Possibilities of increasing airflow rate in working areas were conducted.

Open access

Nikodem Szlązak, Marek Borowski, Dariusz Obracaj, Justyna Swolkień and Marek Korzec

Abstract

Methane drainage is used in Polish coal mines in order to reduce mine methane emissions as well as to keep methane concentration in mine workings at safe levels.

This article describes methods of methane drainage during mining used in Polish coal mines. The first method involves drilling boreholes from tailgate roadway to an unstressed zone in roof or floor layers of a mined seam. It is the main method used in Polish mining, where both the location of drilled boreholes as well as their parameters are dependent on mining and ventilation systems of longwalls. The second method is based on drilling overlying drainage galleries in seams situated under or over the mined seam.

This article compares these methods with regard to their effectiveness under mining conditions in Polish mines. High effectiveness of methane drainage of longwalls with different ventilation and methane drainage systems has been proven. The highest effectiveness of methane drainage has been observed for the system with overlying drainage gallery and with the parallel tailgate roadways. In case of classic U ventilation system of longwall panel, boreholes drilled from the tailgate roadway behind the longwall front are lost.