Skip to main content

Failure Modes and Manifestations in a Mine Gas Explosion Disaster


In 2009, a serious gas explosion happened in Tunlan coal mine at Shanxi province, P.R. China, which claimed the lives of 78 miners. One hundred and fourteen miners got injured, and nearly 4 million dollars of economic loss was reported. On the surface of it, it seems to be an independent happened accident. However, the formation of a gas explosion is dependent on various conditions and all these conditions must be met at the same time so as to result in such explosion. Hence, the explosion itself is not a single event in time. With considering the gas explosion causing the mine ventilation system failure, there must be a number of related causations existing in the system which play important roles that contribute to the system failure. In other words, explosion can be considered as an evolution resulting from various related other failures in the system. Hence, in this paper, failure modes and their contributions to the explosion are going to be investigated. Based on the requirements of an explosion and its propagation characteristics in the underground roadway network, this paper summarizes all failure modes in the gas explosion accident through the initial formation of explosion to its post effects. Moreover, using the theoretical approach and simulation method, the corresponding contributions are also interpreted. The research efforts show that (1) it should not simply treat the explosion as an independent event. Various linked failure modes can be observed during the analysis. It is a quite interesting and also needed for mining engineers to well understand their formations and effects on the system, which may greatly improve the system design in the future to avoid such accidents and (2) the domino effect is involved in various failure modes. It also provides a solution to stop the accident’s propagation by breaking any chain reactions. The research results presented in this paper can be used as theoretical guidelines for improving the safety considerations of a mine ventilation system design work in the future practices.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9


  1. 1.

    M.D. AL-Tahat, A.K.M. Abdul Jawwad, Y.L. Abu Nahleh, Ordinal logistic regression model of failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) in pharmaceutical tabletting tools. Eng. Fail. Anal. 27, 322–332 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    J. Cheng, S. Yang, Data mining applications in evaluating mine ventilation system. Saf. Sci. 50(4), 918–922 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    J.C. Edwards, G.F. Friel, L. Yuan, R.A. Franks, Smoke reversal interaction with diagonal airway-its elusive character. Trans. Soc. Min. Metall. Explor. Incorp. 320, 149 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    H.R. Feili, N. Akar, H. Lotfizadeh, M. Bairampour, S. Nasiri, Risk analysis of geothermal power plants using failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) technique. Energy Convers. Manag. 72, 69–76 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    F. Jinjuan, Z. Xu, T. Chunhu, Failure evaluation of coffee maker. Eng. Fail. Anal. 16(6), 1948–1954 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    M. Kumru, P.Y. Kumru, Fuzzy FMEA application to improve purchasing process in a public hospital. Appl. Soft Comput. 13(1), 721–733 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Y. Liu, Z. Fan, Y. Yuan, H. Li, A FTA-based method for risk decision-making in emergency response. Comput. Oper. Res. 42, 49–57 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Merrian-Webster. (2014). Failure.

  9. 9.

    Sun, J. (2009). The causes and main lessons of 2·22 gas explosion disaster at Tunlan Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group Co., Ltd. National Coal Mine Gas Control Conference. Nanchang.

  10. 10.

    F. Zhou, L. Wei, K. Chen, J. Cheng, Analyses of cascading failure in mine ventilation system and its effects in a serious mine gas explosion disaster. J. Fail. Anal. Prev. 13(5), 538–544 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Supported jointly by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2010QNA02, 2013QNA01), the National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51304203) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China for Youths (Grant No. BK20130191).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. Wei.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cheng, J., Wei, L. Failure Modes and Manifestations in a Mine Gas Explosion Disaster. J Fail. Anal. and Preven. 14, 601–609 (2014).

Download citation


  • Mine gas explosion accident
  • Mine ventilation system
  • Failure mode
  • Domino effect