Numerical Modeling of a Flooded-Bed Dust Scrubber Integrated into a Longwall Shearer

Sampurna Arya, Joseph Sottile, Thomas Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Dust generation and its dispersion in a longwall mine pose significant health and safety issues. The concern is prominent at both the working face, where coal excavation exposes workers to high dust concentrations, and also in the return, where float dust accumulates. To address this issue, researchers at the University of Kentucky designed and fabricated a flooded-bed dust scrubber integrated into a full-scale physical model of a longwall shearer. This mock-up was installed in the longwall test gallery at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A full-factorial experiment was designed to measure the effectiveness of the scrubber on dust capture. Test results indicated dust reduction of up to 57% in the return airways. This paper presents the development of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and its validation by comparing the simulation results against the experimental results. The CFD simulations show good agreement with experimental results with differences between + 6.9 and − 9.7%. The validated CFD model was used further to predict the scrubber performance under additional operating conditions, resulting in a dust reduction of up to 66.5%. With this level of success, the scrubber concept can be a game changer for the mining industry, and it can be utilized to improve health and safety in longwall mines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1119
Number of pages15
JournalMining, Metallurgy and Exploration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc.


  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Dust control
  • Dust scrubber
  • Flooded-bed scrubber
  • Longwall shearer
  • Respirable dust exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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