This paper presents the results of large-scale fire experiments on evaluating the performances of carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke sensors at low ventilation velocities. Experiments using three different combustibles — conveyor belt, coal and diesel fuel — were conducted in the experimental mine at the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Bruceton Research Facility. A total of eight sensor stations were located downstream of the fire with each station containing sensors for CO, smoke, carbon dioxide (CO2 ), oxygen (O2 ), humidity, barometric pressure and temperature, as well as two airflow sensors. The airflow velocity ranged from 0.22 to 0.26 m/s (44 to 51 fpm) in the tests. The response times were recorded for the CO and smoke sensors at each sensor station when smoke and gaseous products of combustion from each burning combustible reached the station. The response times of the CO sensors were used to determine the appropriate sensor spacing in the belt entry with a low air velocity. The performance of the smoke sensor was found to be affected by the high humidity in the experiments. The results on proper selection of sensors and the determination of sensor spacing at a low ventilation velocity can be helpful for ensuring sufficient early fire warning for underground workers, thereby improving the health and safety of miners.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:603–608, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00346-y