Aim: The purpose of this study is to determine the temperature for self heating of coal, caused by the ratio of carbon monoxide and decreasing oxygen levels along a mining section exposed to a catastrophe.

Introduction: The need for this study is associated with existing cumbersome methods used to determine the temperature of coal containing unsaturated hydrocarbons and necessity to identify a faster method for obtaining data about spontaneous fires, to facilitate the selection of appropriate firefighting measures.

Methodology: Methods are based on the theoretical model for non-isothermic kinetics of heterogeneous oxidation of coal with a variable reactionary oxygen surface, caused by the release of methane, as well as by formation and decay of surface compounds through oxygen adsorption and formation of stable particles.

Results: A self heating model was put forward for a layer of coal, based on a representation involving a porous substance. It was assumed that a stream of filtered air, containing oxygen, oxidised upon entering such a layer and generated a heat source. Heat was absorbed across the coal surface culminating in an increase to its temperature. An analytical solution was obtained for this exercise. To describe the intensity of generated heat, the authors utilised their own, previously developed mathematical model. The model took into account the change in oxygen content and surface reaction, depending on coal oxidation levels. Some 30 experiments were performed and analysed, which addressed the issue of coal surface reaction and identified the relationship between the surface layer and degree of coal metamorphosis. This relationship was utilised to determine the proportion of oxygen absorbed during oxidation of coal. By taking account of such data it is possible to calculate the intensity of generated heat, its flow and temperature, and consequential use of oxygen during oxidation of coal. It is proposed that the ratio of carbon oxide to reduced oxygen levels along a section exposed to an emergency, as a result of oxidation can be used to determine coal temperature. This is illustrated by specific examples of mine incident analysis in the Donets Basin.

Conclusions: The mathematical model for surface self heating of coal and porous substances, was approved during tests at NIIGD “Respirator” (Ukraine) and the Federal Republic of Germany, within the temperature range of 340–400 K, for use with different coal quality. It is proposed that the ratio of carbon oxide to oxygen used for oxidation reactions is utilized to determine the temperature of coal. Demonstrated full compatibility between derived results for temperature calculations and data concerning the ratio of ethylene to acetylene.

Relevance in practice: The identified dependences are recommended for further research and industrial application with the aim of controlling the temperature of self heating coal.

Type of article: short scientific report