Studies on the Impact of Seam Gas Composition on Proactive Goaf Inertization Strategies for Spontaneous Combustion Management—a Computational Modeling Approach

Publication Name

Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration


Spontaneous heating of coal continues to present a health and safety hazard in underground coal mines. The influence of seam gas composition on gas flow dynamics and distribution characteristics in the active longwall goaf has not been studied in-depth, and corresponding effective proactive goaf inertization strategies for preventing potential spontaneous heating from occurring have limited investigation. To advance this knowledge, an 80-m-height goaf model was constructed and developed based on specific conditions of an Australian underground coal mine, and onsite gas monitoring data was collated to verify base model results, which allowed for various scenarios of seam gas composition to be simulated and investigated with confidence. This study involved modeling five different gas composition scenarios for the goaf atmosphere, namely, 100% CO2 (case 1), 80% CO2 and 20% CH4 (case 2), 50% CO2 and 50% CH4 (case 3), 20% CO2 and 80% CH4 (case 4), and 100% CH4 (case 5). Simulation results show that O2 is primarily distributed at the middle and upper part of the CO2-dominant goaf model, while it is mainly layered at the floor level of the CH4-dominant goaf model. N2 is superior to CO2 in the goaf inertization for the CO2-dominant goaf model, whereas CO2 performs better than N2 for the CH4-dominant goaf model. The optimal inert gas flowrates for case 1 to case 5 are 1.5, 1.75, 0.75, 0.5, and 1.0 m3/s, and the oxidation zone area is reduced by 55.76%, 67.21%, 58.04%, 78.17%, and 81.82%, respectively. The simulation results allow for increased insight and understanding of the gas distribution patterns in the active goaf with different seam gas composition and the development of corresponding proactive goaf inertization practices, thus minimizing potential spontaneous-heating-related hazards and improving mining safety.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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