August 2014
Volume 66    Issue 8

Preliminary investigation of SEM-EDX as a tool for characterization of coal mine dusts

Mining Engineering , 2014, Vol. 66, No. 8, pp. 16-16
Sellaro, R.; Sarver, E.


It has long been understood that extended occupational exposures to respirable mine dusts can lead to chronic lung disease. In underground coal mines, coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP) and silicosis are major concerns. While there have been many studies aimed at understanding total dust concentrations and silica content associated with different mining conditions (e.g., locations/occupations within a mine, cutting methods, geologic strata), little research has been completed to more comprehensively characterize respirable dust (i.e., by distributions of particle composition, size or shape). For such analysis, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) may represent a powerful tool. This article is a preliminary investigation of SEM-EDX to characterize respirable dust from an underground coal mine in Central Appalachia. Samples were collected from various locations in the study mine, and individual dust particles were identified and classified by mineral type. A continuous personal dust monitor was also used to estimate respirable dust concentrations during sampling. This data was compared to particle densities observed under the SEM.  

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