lyuv

Ventilation and health

Recommended Posts

My shop is a small shed, made of two walls and a roof. Sort of a "corner", but very well sheltered. (perhaps too well...). about 4X4 meters.

The forge is coal burner open-top, with no chimney. And here is the question - how bad is that?

One blacksmith told me the coal produces sulpheric acid, so inhalig the smoke is terrible. Another said it's enough to have a wide open side (as I do). and in fact, many forges are open top with no chimney, and many a smiths live long.

So what do you say? are there any guidelines or knowledge on how much ventilation is needed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How high is the roof? With two open sides I'd say there is enough ventilation if your talking an eight foot roof, any less and I personally would want some way of extracting. That being said I use coke whereas coal has FAR more risk because the volatile substances are still in there. I'd say use a chimney anyway; coal is nasty stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We can't tell from your description if your shed roof shop is ventilated well enough. Which way does the wind blow? Why don't you have a stack? A side draft and stack is super simple to build and very effective but the stack needs to be a minimum of about 5' or 1.5m above the highest point of the roof within say 3-4M. Check your local code regarding chimneys IF you have building and fire codes over there.

Some coal is pretty stinky, some not nobody can make a blanket statement like that and be correct. It IS however good enough advice as far as it goes, better to be over cautious than take unnecessary risks. If you're really worried buy a respirator and appropriate filters. 

More ventilation is better up to the point it starts interfering with operations. It's hard to have too much clean air to breath you know. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Which way does the wind blow?

You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.

Besides, any way the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, around here the wind usually comes from the West. The 1815 house museum where I volunteer had me set up my portable demo outfit the first year on the west side of the event, under protest. Even with a small charcoal fire instead of mineral coal, I spread ashes, smoke, and discontent on the vendors and patrons at the main house and gardens.

Ten years later, we have built the historic interpreter's smithy on the east side of the main house. Right about where the old smithy, barn, outhouse and sheep shed used to be, back when air conditioning meant opening the windows to catch a (hopefully non-odorous) breeze. Pretty smart, those old-timers. Particularly smart when you remember that they had particularly flammable cedar shake roofs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, lyuv said:

One blacksmith told me the coal produces sulpheric acid, so inhalig the smoke is terrible.

Technically, that's incorrect. 

Inhaling coal smoke is terrible, yes. But coal does not produce sulphuric acid. Coal can create sulphur gas (depending on each specific batch of coal and it's sulphur content), which, when coming into contact with water (like the sweat on your skin) can create sulphuric acid. It's called forge rash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) + water (2H2O) = sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) + water (2H2O) = sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

Precisely. Thanks, JHCC!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Iyuv,

The most deleterious components of coal smoke are cancer causing chemicals. 

Some coal smoke constituents such as polycyclic, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Some examples are benzenes , pyrenes, anthracenes, phenanthrenes, heterocyclic compounds etc. etc. and thousands of others. These chemicals are insidious. We learn of their consequences a decade or decades later, when we discover that we have lung cancer or other mostly incurable diseases.

Coal burning will generate some sulfur dioxide gas

Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous, all by itself.

But it will also react with the moisture in the air, together with the suns ultraviolet light to form sulfuric and sulfurous acid.

Sooo, incinerating and also venting coal combustion gaseous products is important.

I hope that my preceding screed is clear.

Shalom Bunkie.

SLAG.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trace elements are defined as elements present in coal in amounts of less than 1 percent by weight. Generally, trace elements are present in coal in amounts much lower 1 percent, and are reported in parts-per-million (ppm) by weight in the coal. A trace element concentration of 1 ppm = 0.0001% by weight, or expressed in another way, a 1 ppm concentration of a trace element equals one pound in one million pounds (500 tons) of coal. Most trace elements in West Virginia coals are present at levels of 10 to 100 ppm, or less.

Highly toxic elements (e.g. arsenic, mercury, lead, and selenium) are present in West Virginia coals, though generally in very low concentrations. How hazardous elements present in very low amounts adversely impact the environment is a matter of scale. For example, a coal fired power plant with no pollution controls in place theoretically would produce 10 tons of lead for each million tons of coal burned containing 10 ppm lead. However, modern pollution control measures provide controls against the release of large amounts of hazardous trace elements to the environment.

 

Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

Antimony (Sb) Erbium (Er) Manganese (Mn) Tantalum (Ta) Arsenic (As) Europium (Eu) Mercury (Hg) Tellurium (Te) Barium (Ba) Fluorine (F) Molybdenum (Mo) Terbium (Tb) Beryllium (Be) Gadolinium (Gd) Neodymium (Nd) Thallium (Tl) Bismuth (Bi) Gallium (Ga) Nickel (Ni) Thorium (Th) Boron (B) Germanium (Ge) Niobium (Nb) Thulium ™ Bromine (Br) Gold (Au) Praseodymium (Pr) Tin (Sn) Cadmium (Cd) Hafnium (Hf) Rhenium (Re) Tungsten (W) Cerium (Ce) Holmium (Ho) Rubidium (Rb) Uranium (U) Cesium (Cs) Indium (In) Samarium (Sm) Vanadium (V) Chlorine (Cl) Iridium (Ir) Scandium (Sc) Ytterbium (Yb) Chromium (Cr) Lanthanum (La) Selenium (Se) Yttrium (Y) Cobalt (Co) Lead (Pb) Silver (Ag) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Lithium (Li) Strontium (Sr) Zirconium (Zr)

A 1 ppm concentration of a trace element equals one pound in one million pounds (500 tons) of coal. You must ask yourself, how many 500 ton quantities of coal do you intend on burning?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

A 1 ppm concentration of a trace element equals one pound in one million pounds (500 tons) of coal. You must ask yourself, how many 500 ton quantities of coal do you intend on burning?

Exactly.

The good old interweb provides us with endless "data", :rolleyes:  ... but precious little perspective .....

 

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Will W. said:

Technically, that's incorrect. 

Inhaling coal smoke is terrible, yes. But coal does not produce sulphuric acid. Coal can create sulphur gas (depending on each specific batch of coal and it's sulphur content), which, when coming into contact with water (like the sweat on your skin) can create sulphuric acid. It's called forge rash.

Or the inside of your nose throat and lungs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys.

First - My bad for not providing a better description of the setup. Here's a picture of the embarrasing mess I call "my smithy". But I do hope for a more general discussion of  ventilation guidelines. I should also point that erecting a chimney is a MAJOR pain. That's why I hesitate and question it. Otherwise I would just go with "there is no harm, so get it. After all, it's your health" right? not so simple.

I do know there are crapy contaminants in the smoke. But that's true for car's smoke, and still, it's acceptable for us to breath the city air, and drink the water. As Glenn said, it's a matter of quantities. Not mere presence.

I"m not arguing any advice here is wrong. I REALY have no idea. Being too carefull is almost as foolish as ignoring a sound warning. So I"m looking for hard data, common knowledge, or just tumb ruls (like - "if you can smell sulphor, it's not ventilated enough" or "for up to 5 hour a week, you can inhale pure coal"). 

Thanks and Shalom

("bunkie"?)

smithy.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How far is your forge from the opening in the wall or at the ceiling? In the photo, either look like they could be used for a chimney exit. Or make the forge mobile and roll it to the open door when in use, and add a chimney on the outside, or one that can be added when outside. Any length chimney will help some to get the smoke out of the work area.

Many times smoke can be eliminated by good fire maintenance. A hole in the top of the coal in the forge, think volcano, will let fire escape and burn much of the smoke being produced. Keeping the fire hot will produce less smoke. And letting the fire make coke as it is being used will produce much less smoke than adding a quantity of new coal to the fire all at once.

Adding a box or window fan to move air to the outside will help move any smoke also.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Glenn said:

Adding a box or window fan to move air to the outside will help move any smoke also.

I inherited a 24" stand fan from my late mother-in-law, and it clears the smoke out of my garage smithy like nobody's business. Keeps me cool when the weather is hot, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/25/2017 at 10:41 AM, JHCC said:

You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.

Besides, any way the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me.

You're not standing down wind. :P

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, JHCC said:

I inherited a 24" stand fan from my late mother-in-law.

Thanks JHCC. Great idea, This plan gets two birds with one stone. And I got my eye on her big screen TV too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.