Mechanized underground mines suffer from noise overexposure. Noise levels are often above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) where underground fans are used. Sound levels in active workings can reach up to 121 A-weighted decibels (dB(A)), especially when fans are not equipped with silencers. Use of silencers seldom ensures PEL. Overexposure of noise induces permanent hearing loss among mine workers. A NIOSH-funded research project and field studies at six coal and non-coal mines revalidated the findings. The University of Utah undertook laboratory studies to reduce fan noise at the source. A new silencer prototype with varying noise dampening material was designed and tested. The silencer and associated extension can be repacked with different dampening materials. The silencer and the extension were used in various configurations. Attempts were also made to simulate field conditions. The tests demonstrated a maximum sound level attenuation of about 14 dB(A) at the fan discharge. A properly designed silencer offers lesser resistance and thereby better fan performance and lower energy cost. The re-packable silencer is more likely to be maintained properly. Lowering of noise level happens in audible frequencies (4000 to 8000 Hz) which are important in A-weighting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Mechanical Engineering
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry