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LECTURE 8

THE CONTENTS OF THIS LECTURE ARE AS FOLLOWS:


1.0 BOOSTER FANS
2.0 PURPOSE OF BOOSTER FANS
3.0 DISADVANTAGE OF BOOSTER FANS
4.0 CRITICAL PRESSURE OF BOOSTER FAN
5.0 PRESSURE REQUIRED TO BE DEVELOPED BY BOOSTER
FAN
6.0 INSTALLATION OF BOOSTER FANS

REFERENCES

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1.0 BOOSTER FANS


Sometimes, the air pressure provided by the main fan tends to be inadequate to
cater to the needs of the whole district/area. To rectify this problem, booster fans,
which are smaller fans with the required power rating, pressure and capacity, are
installed at places where pressure amplification or boosting is required. The
average booster fan used in a typical mine circulates around 25-50 m3/s of air at
pressures between 0.25-1 kPa. Because of low space requirements, axial fans are
preferred for these installations. They are generally exhaust type fans installed near
the return side of the mine.
Booster fans are required in mines with high airway resistance. The working of a
booster fan in one airway results in loss of pressure in other airways, and in some
cases, even a complete lack of circulation. Thus, installation of a booster fan
requires precise ventilation surveying to ensure that airflow in other districts is not
compromised.
Therefore, booster fan is used when the required increase in airflow is not achieved
economically:
- by putting up a regulator in neighboring split
- by enlarging the airway
- by increasing the speed of the fan without undue rise of pressure with consequent
loss of power in regulators installed in low resistance splits, air leakages which may
give rise to spontaneous heating.
- by installation of a new fan with larger peripheral speed
2.0 PURPOSE OF BOOSTER FANS
- For increasing the quantity of air in high resistance districts which are located far
from the inbye.
- For improving the working environment in case of deep and hot mines through
improved air velocities.
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- The air quantity in a mine can be increased by increasing the speed of the surface
fan. However, in such situation, there will be increased leakages between the intake
and the return. In such cases, for increasing the air quantity in a particular
district/panel, booster fans can be used.
- Booster fans also find their utility for reducing or adjusting the pressure difference
between the intakes and returns in a mine which are susceptible to auto-ignition.
3.0 DISADVANTAGE OF BOOSTER FANS
In India, booster fans can be installed with prior and specific approval from
Directorate General of Mines safety (DGMS), Dhanbad. The disadvantages of using
booster fans are:
- It causes recirculation of a large quantity of air. This may result in dangerous
accumulation of inflammable gas.
- Booster fan produces/causes large difference in air pressure. This may result in
heavy leakage and may lead to spontaneous combustion process.
- Stoppage of booster fan may result in accumulation of inflammable gas.
Sometimes these inflammable gases may extend up to the fan itself thereby
making the re-starting of the booster fan dangerous as the spark produced during
the restarting may ignite the gas.
- Sometimes, installation of booster fan in one district may reduce the flow of air in
another district.
- If fire or explosion takes place, the booster fan gets damaged. It also becomes
inaccessible. In such cases, restoration of ventilation may pose a serious problem.
4.0 CRITICAL PRESSURE OF BOOSTER FAN
It is the highest pressure produced by booster fan without causing reversal of air
current.
Now, let us consider Fig. 1

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Fig. 1(after Vutukuri and Lama, 1986)


Let,
Pm = Pressure produced by the main fan
PA = Pressure produced by booster fan in branch A
Rt = Resistance of shafts and main airways
RA = Resistance of branch A
At critical pressure, reversal just commences in branch B and under this condition
no air passes in branch B. Then,
Pm = RtQ2
Here, Q = Air quantity passing in the shafts and main airways
Under critical condition all the quantity of air passes through branch A
Therefore,
PA = RAQ2
Now,
PA
Pm

RA
Rt

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PA = RA Pm
t
Here, PA is the critical pressure. This is the maximum pressure of the booster fan. If
the pressure reaches this value, the flow of air in branch B will stop. In case the
pressure crosses this pressure PA, there will be reverse flow of air in branch B. This
means recirculation of air will take place around the two branches when the
pressure exceeds PA.
Let us assume that splitting is taking place very close to the mine entry. In that
case,
RA>>Rt
This will result in
PA>>Pm
Therefore in this case, the actual booster fan pressure will be much less than the
critical pressure and therefore the impact of booster fan installation on the mine will
be very small.
Now, let us assume that splitting is taking place at a long distance from the mine
entry. In that case,
Rt>>RA
This will result in
Pm>>PA
Therefore, in this case, the critical pressure of the booster fan will be quite low.
Once the critical pressure of the booster fan is low, the effect of booster fan on the
mine may be significant.
5.0 PRESSURE REQUIRED TO BE DEVELOPED BY BOOSTER FAN
Let us assume that,
Q = Quantity passing in the split due to the main fan
Qn = Increased quantity of air required in the split
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P = Main fan pressure


Pn = Increased pressure required to pass quantity Qn
Now, we know that P Q2
Therefore, Pn = P

Q2n
Q2

Therefore, the pressure to be developed by booster fan = Pn P


6.0 INSTALLATION OF BOOSTER FANS
A booster fan is usually sited in the return airway to avoid the coal transport
system, which is usually in the intake airway. The position of the fan in the return
airway is chosen carefully. This is to see that there is not appreciably higher
pressure in the return airway than in the intake airway at any place where leakage
between them can occur which may result in recirculation. Fig. 2 shows a typical
installation of booster fan.

Fig. 2 Installation of booster fan (after Deshmukh. 2008)

A Neutral Point is the position of the booster fan at which the pressure difference
between the intake airway and the return airway is equal to the booster fan
pressure. If we site the fan inbye of this point, the pressure in the return airway will
become higher than that of the intake airway. Under such situation, if there is a
leakage path, it may result in recirculation. If the fan is progressively moved outbye
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from the neutral point, the pressure difference between the intake and the return
airway increases. This results in increased leakage flow in any existing leakage
path.
REFERENCES
Deshmukh, D. J. (2008); Elements of Mining Technology, Vol. II; Denett & Co.,
Nagpur, India.
Ghatak, S. (1993); Mine Ventilation, Vol. II; Coal Field Publishers, West Bengal,
India.
Vutukuri, V. S. & Lama, R. D. (1986); Environmental Engineering in Mines;
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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