December 2021
Volume 73    Issue 12

Evaluation of carbon monoxide and smoke sensors at a low ventilation velocity

Rowland III, James H.; Yuan, Liming; Thomas, Richard A.


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.

Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:603–608,


Follow these easy steps if you are an SME member:
  • Go to . Sign in with your email address and password.
  • Hover your mouse over “Publications and Resources” in the top banner. Click on “Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (MME) Journal” in the pull-down menu.
  • Scroll down and click on the “Read the MME Journal Online” button, which will take you to the Springer site as an SME member who is eligible for free access. (To see published papers on the Springer site, click on “Browse Volumes & Issues” in the blue banner.)
If you are not an SME member, go to for paid access. Or join SME at