Dust control is one of the most difficult challenges for underground coal mine operators, especially longwall mine operators. The most widely used dust control technologies at a longwall section are ventilation air and water sprays, whereas a continuous miner section has the added advantage of having a dust scrubber built into the continuous miner. To test the potential benefits of integrating a flooded-bed scrubber into a longwall shearer, the authors designed and built a dust scrubber system for a full-scale mock-up of a longwall shearer. The mock-up was installed in the longwall test gallery at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) for testing. Air quantity surveys were performed at different cross-sections of the test gallery at a fixed face-air quantity, but at different scrubber airflow rates to quantify the distribution of air in the test gallery. Subsequently, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the PRL test gallery was developed and validated. In this study, the effect of the flooded-bed scrubber on airflow pattern in the test gallery is investigated using the validated CFD model. This model can be used further to predict the dust capture efficiency of the scrubber and to develop new techniques to reduce dust concentration in longwall sections.

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Published in Applied Sciences, v. 11, issue 8, 3617.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Funding for this research was provided by the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health (grant number AFC113-10).