Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Yi Luo

Committee Co-Chair

Brijes Mishra

Committee Member

Felicia Peng


Many causes can lead to mine fires and explosions in coal mines but one of the most relevant cause is the spontaneous combustion of coal. This event can cause serious environmental consequences such as release of huge quantities of greenhouse effect gases such as CO2 and CO, presents safety risks to the miners by igniting mine explosions, and also causes significant economic loss. Many countries in the world have faced these problems. In order to prevent and mitigate them, scientists develop methods to determine whether a coal deposit has propensity to spontaneous combustion or not.;Many methods have been developed around the world for the determination of the propensity of spontaneous combustion of coals such as the adiabatic method, the USBM empirical methods based on coal quality analysis. The methods, having their own advantages and limitations, are applicable to analyze every coal or just some specific ones. These methods were developed mainly in Australia, USA and China since these countries are the major victims of mine fires.;Despite the fact that mine fires have caused many problems around the world, South American coals and deposits have never been studied for their propensity to spontaneous combustion. So what are the chances that coal producers in Latin America like Colombia and Brazil can face this problem in a near future? What preventive measures the mine operators should take to ensure safe and smooth mining operation? What kinds of environmental issues the coal spontaneous combustion could bring the population living nearby the mines? To answer these questions, the author performed the following experimental analyses to determine the propensity of the South America's coals. The results are presented in this thesis.;• The adiabatic analysis will be used to determine the intrinsic reactivity of coal samples obtained from Colombia at low temperatures. The reactivity will be calculated exposing the coal to dry and moist environment. • The thermogravimetry (TGA) will be used to determine the activation energy of the coal samples obtained and also to do the proximate analysis, which is important to the next step. • Use the proximate analysis to find parameters like self-heating temperature, quantified coal rank using US coal band which can be used to serve as a quick estimate of self-heating potential of South American coals.