July 2020
Volume 72    Issue 7

Numerical investigation of the effect of a novel wet scrubber on dust reduction in an underground coal mine

Arya, Sampurna; Novak, Thomas


Controlling dust generation and keeping it below permissible limits to meet federal dust standards at the working face of a room-and-pillar coal mine is a challenge for a mine operator. With the recent changes in federal dust regulations requiring lower worker exposure, maintaining compliance has become increasingly difficult. The current most effective practice of dust control at a continuous miner face in an underground mine is the use of a flooded-bed scrubber. A study carried out by the U.S National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicated that a flooded-bed scrubber could achieve cleaning efficiencies between 58 and 90 percent. But the operation of such a system is maintenance intensive. The flooded-bed scrubber screen becomes clogged with dust particles and requires frequent cleaning to maintain performance. However, the dust control issue is not solely a mining-industry problem. Other industries face similar issues. The University of Kentucky collaborated with Toyota Motor Manufacturing on the development of a novel wet scrubber, called the vortecone scrubber, for capturing over-sprayed paint particles in automotive paint booths. The vortecone scrubber achieved a cleaning efficiency of 99 percent and required minimal maintenance. This study aims to assess the ability of this vortecone scrubber to capture respirable dust in an underground coal mine. The paper presents the results of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of this vortecone scrubber. It discusses the effects of air quantity and dust particle size on the performance of the scrubber. 


Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:129–139, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-019-00135-2


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