What dust suppression methods are actually available? The dust suppression methods available include;

  • Using microbes and their enzymes 
  • Using traditional chemical dust control palliatives 
  • Utilize non-traditional chemical dust control palliatives 
  • Use of water 
  • Use of misting, cyclones and baghouses 

The subject of dust suppression methods is very broad and their different applications so vast that one needs to carefully consider what is available to utilize based on their unique dust suppression need. Global Road Technology (GRT) offers recommendations, expertise and seasoned engineering solutions for different dust suppression scenarios whilst offering the benefit of tailor-made products that continue to evolve to meet the needs of clients. The classification of dust suppression methods can be grouped into chemical, biological and physical methods; however the focus of our discussion will evaluate chemical dust suppression methods applicable in various fields of application. Typical scenarios of the application of different chemical dust suppression methods will be analyzed and GRT formulated dust suppressants will be incorporated into every scenario to highlight the vast range of applications for GRT products. Regular mining activities generate different types of dust in addition to unsealed haul mine road and underground mine road usage however mining is not the only example other areas include unsealed rural roads, agricultural lands and military operations.  

Methodologies for dust control

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Chemical, biological and mechanical dust suppression methods can be utilized to control different types and particle sizes of dust. Critical to the dust control is dust particle size which also determines the type of method which is effective given the different sources of dust. The smaller the particle size the more difficult it is to suppress dust particles hence choice of dust suppression method is very critical to the overall process of dust management. Chemical dust suppressants can be divided into traditional and non-traditional with the latter more preferred given the more targeted approach to chemical dust suppression and less challenges associated with earth stewardship. Examples of common, non-traditional chemical dust suppressants include surfactants, waterborne polymers, and lignosulfonates (weak, natural polymers) which are very specific in their mechanisms of action. Biological dust control consists the use of microbes such as bacteria and their enzymes in the process of inducing calcite precipitation with calcite matrices promoting aggregation of dust particles. Mechanical dust suppression methods involve use of misting systems, cyclones and bag houses which are set up at transfer points on belts. Overall, each method works for specific reasons and these reasons vary from one scenario to the other. Our discussion will now look closely at non-traditional chemical dust suppression in unsealed mine haul and rural roads, agricultural lands and military applications. 

Haul road and heavy duty dust control

Dust in unsealed haul roads originates from the movement of vehicles and subsequent dislodgement of loose particulate matter and fines which generates different particle sizes of dust. Principally, in order to understand the generation of dust the basics of unsealed road construction complement the structure to function discussion of dust suppression in unsealed roads. Haul mine road design and construction consists of four components which are geometric, structural, functional and maintenance design components. Haul mine road performance is mainly measured on rolling resistance which is related to road deterioration rate from a maintenance perspective in which chemical dust suppression can be utilized to provide both dust suppression and stabilization which is necessary to achieve structural and functional objectives of the haul mine road. GRT Haul-Loc is a formulated liquid polymer which avoids the impact of slowing down or stopping production due to poor visibility on haul mining roads. It improves dust suppression of haul mine roads by up to four or five times more than just using water alone. Mining roads are just not on the surface alone and hence GRT product GRT Wet-Loc is a refined synthetic fluid that offers total dust control in underground mining roads, as well as heavy wear industrial and logistics applications. 

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Unsealed rural road and broad-scale management

A fit for purpose approach to design, construction and maintenance of rural roads considers traffic, climate and material availability which feeds into the life cycle cost assessment. The road user and local communities tend to bear the brunt of nuisance inhalable and respirable dust owing to the lack of dust suppression. Formulation of dust suppressants for rural roads is GRT’s forte and their flagship product GRT 7000 and GRT9000 are liquid polymers that can be applied on nearly all soil and resource surfaces which complements a fit for purpose approach to materials that are often considered as marginal unsealed road construction resources. In agricultural lands the safety of livestock, farm workers and the environment is crucial to the productivity of the farm and resultant fugitive dust can impact negatively on production. Reducing the effects of wind erosion and resultant dust generation can be achieved through GRT’s specialized long chain polymer technology in GRT Soil-Loc which offers a cost effective way that protects cropping lands. 

Military Applications – dust control

Activities at the military camps can generate a lot of dust, from the drills to the movement of military personnel and vehicles and dust generated can be ameliorated using all-purpose polymer soil binder GRT 1000. Combat and natural disaster zones are pivotal parts of military operations and GRT 2000 can be aerially deployed to effectively capture and control dust from asbestos, silica sources, heavy metals and contaminated sources in general. There can never be a detailed plan for eventualities in military situations and provision for waterless dust control solutions such as GRT 3000 enable better logistical environments for military aircrafts  which is at the core of operational success. 

Different challenges – different solutions

Different types of dust suppression methods exist and can be categorized into chemical, biological and mechanical. Chemical dust suppression includes traditional and non-traditional dust suppressants and the latter was the main highlight in the article with applications spanning from haul road in mining and underground mining roads, rural roads, agriculture land and different forms of military operations. Across all the mentioned fields of application, GRT offers tailor-made dust suppression products to the needs of each client without any limitations to scope or availability of client specific solutions. There is no mountain too steep to climb for GRT and in the same light there is no dust source too difficult to control from a GRT perspective. Agility in products, versatility in applications whilst achieving client satisfaction is definitely a blue print of the dust suppression products from GRT. 

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REFERENCES 

  • Rice, Z., and Toole,T. 2020. Sustainable Roads Through Fit-for-purpose Use of Available Materials: Technical Basis. Austroads. 1-122. 
  • Rice, Z., and Toole,T. 2020. Sustainable Roads Through Fit-for-purpose Use of Available Materials: Evaluation Tool and User Guide. Austroads. 1-82.
  • Thompson, R. 2011. GSFM- An Integrated Approach to Mine Haul Road Design. Western Australian School of Mines Curtin University.