Quite Beneath Our Contempt

Fruitcake Site Being Totally Ignored

July 13, 2017

This hick hate blog is being totally ignored today, as we can all see using www.semrush.com. It is known as the ticking stink bomb for those in the know, composed of stolen pyridine and ancient bile. It has been ignored for about seven thousand days in succession an allcomers’ world record. The interest in EC2 theory is at a record high.”

No comment required or deserved.


2 Responses to “Quite Beneath Our Contempt”

  1. Harry Hab Says:

    Well, as a chemist he has an intimate knowledge of things that smell bad…

  2. IoanRichard Says:

    Mr Ron Evans is a bit obsessed with the honour people had in working in coal mines. He has never worked in a coal mine and seems grossly concerned with his false claim defamatory delusions that I never worked in the coal industry. I have never ever claimed to have been a coal MINER but I did work in the coal industry for a few years, and I was a member then of the National Union of Miners NUM. The closest he ever got to coal was cuddling up before a warm coal fire in his Grandmother’s house. Here are my recollections of my actual working experience working for the National Coal Board over fifty years ago:-

    Anthracite Coal and Science 1960 – 1964
    At 10.15am Friday morning 28th October 2016 I was at Pantyffynnon Railway station, Ammanford. Peering down the line curving upwards from Pontarddulais, I was looking out for the Heart of Wales Train for an afternoon out in Shrewsbury travelling free using my Bus Pass. The signals changed and I thought that my train was coming early until a massive mineral freight train emerged to rumble past with a massive Loco hauling twenty giant trucks up the spur towards Tairgwaith Gwaun Cae Gurwen. A man with a tripod mounted camera was clicking away furiously photographing the train and trucks. He told me it would come back down with a two thousand tonne coal cargo, but this would not last much longer. On getting home late on Friday I looked up films of this station on the You Tube Web. Links to these films are here below. I was also inspired to write here of my experiences as a school leaver aged 16 yrs in 1960 clutching a handful of useful “O” Levels. More of that later. Let’s look now at these film links first:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsVm4IRWujY the massive locomotive.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_porsNBp3s Pantyffynnon Station, Ammanford, showing the small Heart of Wales passenger train heading off towards Shrewsbury, closely followed by the massive coal train heading up empty towards Gwaun Cae Gurwen to collect opencast coal. Today 2016 the twenty Trucks were bigger, capable of carrying a 100 tonnes each – making the return journey 2,000 tonnes plus the weight of the giant loco and the rolling stock having to come down hill down the Amman Valley. This may soon be no more. This Amman Valley line has carried many millions of Tonnes of coal from the East Pit & old East Pit & Steer Pit & Mardy Pit & Cwmgors Colliery & Abernant & Pantyffynnon & Wernos & Ammanford collieries & Betws Mine & Opencast Coals & many other lesser Cwmaman forgotten coal mines and Coal Preparation plants. If the Tairgwaith opencast mine closes, this mineral line will probably also close, bringing to an end a great era in the industrial history of Welsh coal mining. As the poet John Tripp once wrote of a return home valley journey he once made as “The Diesel to Yesterday”.
    Let’s go back to the subject of Anthracite Coal and Science 1960 –1964. As I said, left school in 1960 and my first job was as a “Coal Sampler” in the old Area 9 Anthracite Coal industry in the South Western Division of the National Coal Board NCB South Wales Coalfield which included the Area 1 Steam Coal / Semi – Anthracite mines. Area 9 was centred around Ammanford – it included all the Anthracite NCB Pits in the Gwendraeth Valley & the Amman Valley & the Upper Swansea Valley from Pontardawe up & the Neath Valley.
    Area 1 was centred around lower Swansea valley consisting of the Trebanos & Clydach & Glais & Penlle’rgaer / Gorseinon & Pontarddulais Steam Coal Pits. It had formerly also included mines at Waunarlwydd / Gowerton / Three Crosses etc..
    So, in 1960 I started work in the NCB No. 9 area Scientific Laboratory at Tairgwaith as a manual Coal Sampler at the age of 16 yrs.. There were Coal Samplers based at all mines that had “coal preparation plants” – screens and washeries. Not all mines had these facilities. Some mines shared washeries with nearby pits. The year 1960 was only 13 years after the 1947 nationalization of all mines under the NCB. Several mines were still clustered together from previous private ownership groups such as Cory Brothers or Amalgamated Anthracite etc.. At this time three new “super pits” were being developed in the locality – Brynlliw (high quality steam coal) at Grovesend, Gorseinon. Abernant (highest quality Peacock Anthracite) between Pontardawe and Cwmgors, and Cynheidre 1& 2 and Cynheidre 3 & 4 (high quality Anthracite) in the Gwendreth valley. The coal samplers would clamber into freshly laden coal trucks to take out samples in small labelled sacks of the coal for quality testing before release of the trucks to customers. These samples would quickly be taken by van to the laboratory for testing. As a fresh school leaver I was not allowed to work alone amongst the trucks in the collieries. My job was to help receive these small sacks and in many cases first sieve them to check their correct sizes. Sizes ranged from fine duff to rice then grains then beans then stovesse then stove nuts then cobbles and large, but we never handled the cobbles or large as they would rarely come for testing – they would get crushed at the colliery into nuts or used as free concessionary house coal for the colliers. The next test stage would be flotation separation by putting coal samples into steel nets into small tanks (the size of a rubbish bin) full of liquid Carbon Tetrachloride of density 1.59 gm per cc.. Coal has a density of about 1.4 gms per cc which would float in Carbon Tet’ whereas local coal field sandstone had a density of about 2.3 gms per cc and shales and middlings anywhere in between would sink. The % of coal in a sample could be calculated easily by pulling out the mesh containing the floats and leaving the sinks in a lower mesh. If a sample had lots of middlings or stone a phone call would go to the mine washery to re-wash that truck-full, or re-process it, to clear out the stone, to avoid customer complaints.
    Customers were often bulk consumers such as big Coal Fired Power Stations or Coal Fuel Yards for Steam Locomotives and Shipping Bunkers or industrial giants that used coal in their processes. These big buyers would not tolerate inferior fuels in any form or way. Many would do their own sampling on delivery to check quality
    It is important to understand how coal was processed after it left underground as “Run of Mine” RoM. In a then large modern washery it would come from pit head on a conveyor system and then pass under a powerful electro magnet to extract any scrap iron or steel that may have fallen into the coal. This was done to avoid damaging the later washery processes machinery. Some years previously hand pickers would sort out stones from the coal, but by 1960 those days had gone.
    The RoM would then be crushed into manageable sizes that were in demand e.g. grains or nuts. The next stage of process would be two “washing tanks” one with a dense medium to float off the coal. Smaller sizes would be floated out by a froth flotation tank of water with upward forced air bubbles creating buoyancy of critical bubble bursts.
    The flotation process would produce coal and middlings and waste stone and shale. The latter waste would go to the tip. The coal would go on to be screened into sizes. The middlings might be sold as low grade coal or re-washed. The screening of the coal, as I wrote earlier, was to sort out the coal from fine duff to rice then grains then beans then stovesse then stove nuts (and also cobbles and large) by successive screening (or very large scale sieving) to drop individual sizes into coal wagons below in parallel rail sidings to be sampled as I wrote earlier. We need to return to the processing of the samples. After sorting by floating at the shed at the Laboratory and Carbon Tet’ process the coal sample would be finely crushed into a powder and placed in a small glass jar labelled with the coal truck number and other details as needed. These jars would go to the Area 9 Scientific Laboratory across the road at Tairgwaith. After a few months working as a Sampler I progressed into working as a (Junior STO4) Scientific Technical Officer analysing the coal samples.
    The most urgent of jobs for all samples, was to log entry them in a record book and then very delicately weigh out a few tiny grammes of the coal sample, using an accurate chemical laboratory balance, into tiny crucible trays and line up about a dozen trays and carefully with tongs place them all into a small red hot kiln oven to burn. This was a quick process. The trays were then retrieved and cooled and then the tray and ash was carefully weighed. Using a simple calculation the % ash content could be noted. With Anthracite it could be very low at about 3% or less. If it was alarmingly high the coal truck identity would be notified back to the washery. Large consumers like Power Stations did not want to pay for excessive ash contents in their fuels. That was a routine for all samples.
    The large number of coal seams worked in Area 9 all had their own “fingerprint” analysis. Occasionally if a mine had lost the coal seam due to a fault upthrust or downthrust or was driving a new development take area or taking bore hole specimens, then samples would be brought to the Laboratory for analysis and seam identity. This would include ash and volatile tarry contents as described above weighing and burning and weighing again and even ash colour as in a classic example the Red Vein that had bright red ash.
    One very delicate experiment was reserved for high quality trucks of coal destined for the big beer breweries for massive hop drying ovens. All coal contains sulphur and arsenic. Neither were wanted to taint or pollute and poison the beer. Arsenic contents in coal can vary from seam to seam and district to district from just one part per million ppm up to seventy ppm. Anything over six ppm was considered unsuitable and dangerous for hop drying as it would cause an accumulative poison in the beer. To analyse this by a British Standard method was complicated. Samples of over 6ppm would go to another market.
    We also analysed Mine Air Gas samples to check the firemen’s Mine Safety Apparatus MSAs. This would be done by a Fireman taking small glass bottles under ground to his district location and checking his MAS figure whilst simultaneously emptying out the water from a bottle. The mine air would enter the bottle. This bottle would be sent to the Laboratory and inverted over a small mercury bath, the air would be drawn into a measured volume in an “Orsat” apparatus, in which an electric filament would burn off Methane and the volume contraction could calculate the % of methane present. Next a pass into a caustic solution would dissolve the carbon dioxide and its percentage calculated.
    These figures had to coincide with the Fireman’s MSA reading. If not something was wrong and it would be reported back promptly to the Mine Manager. Occasionally, high methane levels would be detected and these would need referring immediately. Either to withdraw men or shut off electric machines or to increase ventilation. To my memory this only happened at the Varteg Colliery Ystalyfera when it was my job to perform the Orsat analysis.
    Area 9 Laboratory also jointly performed one task for Area 1. That was checking on all the lubricants, oils and greases, used in the collieries. This was one of my duties at one stage. We would visit colliery stores and take small lubricant samples from all new barrel deliveries of oils and greases. These would be taken back and checked for “flashpoint” figures and “viscosity”. Viscosity was essential for smooth running of the machinery. To test it, a given oil volume was placed in a container with a small tap at the base. It was timed as how long it took to run out at two different temperatures. This would indicate how easily it could run between machinery bearings. The flashpoint test was done on all lubricants before it could be used underground. This involved putting a set quantity / volume into a sort of copper kettle. The oil or grease would be heated slowly in the presence of a tiny gas pilot light continuously monitoring its temperature. Suddenly there would be a flash as the lubricant ignited. Underground machinery needed lubricants with high flashpoints. Somehow the supplying refineries could supply these. This was an essential safety check in case a machine developed mechanical problems e.g. a worn shaft or wheel bearing overheating which could cause a flash of flame underground in the mine air which could cause a disastrous explosion. Any barrel of low flash point lubricant could be sent back to its supplier or only used on the mine surface. Viscosity checks were also done on the oil sumps in the giant Bellis & Morcom Air Compressors to avoid down time caused by bearing run outs on these essential costly giants. These compressors powered all the pneumatic motors and drills underground. Such drills bored the shot firing holes etc.. Down time was very costly.
    There were one off situations, as at the new super pit Abernant near Cwmgors. It had two vertical shafts just less than 1,000 metres deep in the production of the best coal ever on the planet – the famous Peacock Seam which looked like black glass consisting of nearly pure carbon. This new pit had hit enormous geological squeeze problems. The twenty four foot diameter concrete lined main roadways were collapsing steadily under gigantic strains and had to be relined with steel and concrete. I still have a rare piece of lustrous Abernant Peacock Anthracite.
    The UK Coal Research Centre at Isleworth had invented a stress gauge consisting of a short sealed sturdy stainless steel pipe capsule about 15 cm long containing a taut short length of wire inside connected each end to outside low voltage / low amperage electric terminal wires. It became part of my work to go underground with a Senior Technical Officer to the main roadways and clamber in, by squeezing between the wooden shutters and the bare rock, top, bottom and sides, to attach these gauges to the steel reinforcing bars prior to the pumping in of the concrete lining, leaving the connector wires protruding out into the roadway. One strange thing at this location was the dominance of two languages Welsh used by all the locals and German used by the Thyssen Contractors – hardly a word of English! Later as the concrete set hard a device would be connected to the wires periodically to send in electric pulses which would reflect how taut the wires had become. Somehow the Isleworth boffins could calculate high stress zones where the wire had become slack due to strain squeeze in the strata and forecast possible future roadway collapse. Quote a 1961 Scientific paper:- An excavation at depth underground is kept open by virtue of the stability of the strata which surround it and this stability depends to a great extent on the magnitude of the stress and how it is distributed around the excavation. Therefore the measurement of stress and how it varies is highly desirable in any investigation concerned with strata control.
    Another underground task that I did, in the company of a Senior Technical Officer, was to investigate coal breakages at transfer points from coal face to the washery at Abernant that was considered to be producing excessive duff or fine coal via long wall face Disc Cutting Shearers. This involved spending days at the mine bearing small labelled sacks and a small hand shovel. The first stage would be to enter the working face and scoop out samples off the face conveyor. Then the coal would be followed on its journey to pit bottom and then up to the washery. After every transfer point e.g. change of conveyor / belt / tram a sample would be taken.
    All these samples would be taken back to the Laboratory Sample shed and sieved by hand through a number of different size sieves. All the different size quantities would be listed and tabulated. If a district / face system had consistent % size quantities, it was deemed no problem existed. However, if a particular transfer point caused coal size breakages shown by a sudden smalls size % change then modification needs would be reported to the Manager and his Engineer. Different sizes had considerable value differences according to demands.
    One other test experiment was the “Bomb Calorimeter”. This was a really solid piece of stainless steel into which a very small sample of crushed powdered coal would be placed. It had an electric ignition wire and would be pressure filled with pure oxygen. It also had an accurate connected thermometer. The electric ignition would cause a very minute explosion burning the coal sample. Then by an arithmetic formula the mass heat gain would show the thermal capacity of burning that coal sample. The thermal capacity varied from seam to seam and from ash content to ash content. This thermal capacity was essential for mass use consumers like the Power Stations.
    All this information is from fifty years ago with my bad memory. It was inspired by “the Diesel to Yesterday Experience”. I have probably forgotten lots of details and missed out important matters and topics, but as a record of yesterday’s coal industry in 1960 it may be an interesting document article before everyone forgets what happened then.
    Ioan M. Richard aged 73 in July 2017 – 57 years on.
    At 23, Mountain Road, Craigcefnparc, Swansea, SA6 5RH, Wales. Telephone 01792 843861. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to use, but just give me the credit for writing it as a record of the Science involved in Anthracite mining in 1960. Now in year 2017 it has all gone. Nothing left of deep mining in Wales and Opencast Mining and Coal Fired Power Stations soon to close. See further information below from Internet images
    Abernant Colliery – source internet image on the web – developed by the National Coal Board One of the West Wales “super pits” alongside Cynheidre Colliery in the Gwendraeth valley, an investment intend to keep economic coal mining a viable industry in the area. The £10million development began in 1954, with the sinking of two of the deepest shafts in the coalfield to allow access to the Peacock anthracite seam. The North (upcast) was 837 yards (765 m) and the South 987 yards (903 m) deep respectively. Two insets were also driven, No.3 at 692 yards (633 m) and No.4 at 792 yards (724 m) deep respectively.
    A pair of British Rail Class 37 locomotives load coal from the already closed Abernant Colliery, 1989
    Production started two years later, with coal extracted along the Amman Valley branch of the former Llanelly Railway and Dock Company, and on to the mainline at Pantyffynnon. In 1962, the colliery developed access to the Red Vein seam, resulting in the abandonment of the lower Peacock seams from 1963. The result was that during the 1970s, 900 men produced an average of 300,000 tonnes of coal per annum, from a system that covered 8 square miles (21 km2) with over 40 miles (64 km) of roadway. The colliery was one of the first NCB pits to deploy retreat mining, whereby roadways were driven to the limit of the coal reserves, and then the coal faces then worked towards the pit bottom.

    There is an image of this on the internet.

    This is an image of a basic Orsat on the internet. The Orsat used to analyse Mine Air was more sophisticated with a small mercury bath into which to hand invert the sample bottle for drawing out the gas. No image is available for this version sometimes called a Haldane Gas Analysis Apparatus.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< END.


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