Date of Award
Master of Science
This thesis has developed wetting characteristics of coal dust from Herrin coal seam in Illinois for improved respirable coal and quartz dust (< 10µm) control. Wetting characteristics were assessed by a wettability technique called Fixed Time Wettability (FTW) method which simulates the actual underground wetting environment. Immediate roof and immediate floor materials bulk samples were found to be 100% wettable by water alone, whereas coal seam samples were 55-90% wettable. Two variables: contact time between water droplets and dust particles and, the temperature of the water were found to affect the degree of wettability. FTW was carried out at as a function of water temperature (7.2oC to 40.5oC) and contact time (10 to 25 seconds) which increased wettability 2-18% and 8-32%, respectively. In addition, the wetted and un-wetted samples collected from wettability experiments were subjected to Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and particle size distribution analyses. It was found that particles are irregular in shape in both wetted and un-wetted fractions and some agglomeration of fine particles was observed in a few un-wetted fraction samples. The concept of increased contact time was incorporated in engineering controls by increasing the wet scrubber filter screen inclination (which is a function of the screen surface area). The filter screen inclination was minimizing the pressure drop across it using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. It was found that 60 degree (with respect to the vertical) would provide minimal pressure drop and should be considered for implementation. Additional research should be conducted on assessing selective wetting of different particle sizes of coal and quartz in airborne dust, developing data on wettability as a function of particle size and implementing the developed concepts such as contact time and temperature in the field for improved dust control.
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