During the ventilation of longwalls in hard coal mines, part of the air stream migrates to the goaves with caving. These goaves constitute a space (void) filled with rocks following coal extraction. In the case where these goaves contain coal susceptible to spontaneous combustion, the flow of such an air stream through the goaves may lead to the formation of favourable conditions for coal oxidation, self-heating and spontaneous combustion. Such an area is referred to as the zone with a particularly high risk of spontaneous coal combustion (endogenous fires). The location and extent of this zone depend on many factors, with one of the most important being the permeability of the goaves which determines the tensile strength of the roof rocks forming the caving. This strength determines the propensity of these rocks to transform into the state of caving and the degree of tightness of the cave-in rubble (treated as a porous medium). The purpose of the present paper is to determine how the tensile strength of roof rocks influences the extent of the zone with a particularly high risk of spontaneous coal combustion (endogenous fires) in caving goaves of the longwalls ventilated with the Y-type system. To achieve this goal, model-based tests were conducted for a region of the longwall mined with caving and ventilated with the Y-type system. Critical air speed and oxygen concentration values in the caving goaves of this longwall were determined for the actual conditions of exploitation. These parameters define the risk zone of spontaneous coal combustion. The tests also helped to determine the extent of this zone, depending on the strength of the rocks forming the caving. The results obtained unequivocally indicate that the type of rocks forming the caving affects its permeability and the extent of the risk zone for spontaneous coal combustion. At the same time, the distribution of this zone is substantially different than in the case of other ventilation systems. The results obtained are of real practical significance for preventive measures to reduce fire risks. The effectiveness of these measures significantly improves the safety of mining exploitation.
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