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Colorado School of Mines

1. Strebinger, Claire. Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines.

Degree: PhD, Mechanical Engineering, 2019, Colorado School of Mines

Fires and explosions in confined spaces are extremely dangerous, destroying homes and buildings, damaging infrastructure, and posing a fatal risk to civilians and fire responders. In 2016 alone, The National Fire and Protection Association estimated over a million reported fires, killing 14,650 civilians, 81% of which were home structural fires (Association, 2017). However, fires and explosions have been a problem across many industries including oil and gas, textiles, sugar refineries, and retail. A common denominator of the majority of incidents is that the fires and explosions occurred in confined spaces with complex geometries (i.e. apartment buildings, homes, industrial facilities, pipelines). This is important because explosions in confined spaces can quickly accelerate and result in catastrophic events; and obstacles in the path of the flame could generate a significant amount of turbulence accelerating a high-speed deflagration resulting ultimately in a detonation. This is especially important for the coal mining industry where methane gas explosions are a serious risk in underground mines and can be devastating such as the Upper Big Branch (UBB) explosion in West Virginia in 2010 which killed 29 miners (Page, et al., 2011), the Willow Creek explosions in Utah in 2000 which killed 2 miners and injured 8 more (McKinney, et al., 2001), and the Buchanan Mine in Virginia in 2005 which produced overpressures large enough to knock down miners (Carico, 2005). Although significant work has been done over the years to help mitigate these explosions, they still pose a fatal risk to workers. To gain a full understanding of these gas explosions requires detailed knowledge of mine ventilation schemes, the movement of methane gas in the mine, and high-speed methane gas deflagrations in the presence of various obstacles and run-up lengths. Therefore, the main objective of this research is to build a full-scale, 3D CFD model of a methane explosion in a longwall coal mine and to help assess risk and potential mitigation methods. The knowledge and experience gained in this research can easily be applied to other large-scale fires and explosions such as the 2017 Qishayan tunnel explosion in the Guizhou Province of China which killed 12 workers and injured more (PTI, 2017). The knowledge gained can also help assess the potential risk and provide guidance for stronger prevention strategies against such disasters; as well as guide future designs that minimize the potential for such disasters from occurring. Methane deflagration experiments are performed to build a stronger understanding of how methane flames propagate and interact with obstacles under conditions typically found in a longwall coal mine. Subsequently the data obtained from these experiments is used to validate the combustion model across various scales, providing for a robust and accurate model. Researchers ignited methane-air mixtures in 12cm and 71cm diameter horizontal, cylindrical flame reactors and a rectangular, experimental box with and without obstacles… Advisors/Committee Members: Bogin, Jr., Gregory E. (advisor), Brune, Jurgen F. (advisor), Miller, Hugh (committee member), Porter, Jason (committee member), Sullivan, Neal (committee member).

Subjects/Keywords: flame propagation; methane combustion; longwall coal mining; computational fluid dynamics

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APA (6th Edition):

Strebinger, C. (2019). Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines. (Doctoral Dissertation). Colorado School of Mines. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11124/173278

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Strebinger, Claire. “Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, Colorado School of Mines. Accessed October 19, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/11124/173278.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Strebinger, Claire. “Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines.” 2019. Web. 19 Oct 2019.

Vancouver:

Strebinger C. Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Colorado School of Mines; 2019. [cited 2019 Oct 19]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11124/173278.

Council of Science Editors:

Strebinger C. Modeling Large-Scale High-Speed Methane Gas Deflagrations in Confined Spaces: Applications for Longwall Coal Mines. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Colorado School of Mines; 2019. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11124/173278

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