In coal mining, a flammable and explosive gas emitted by coal seams. It is composed mostly of methane (natural gas, CH4) but also contains some hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, and occasionally a little ethane. Firedamp has caused many disastrous pit explosions; it is detectable with a Davy lamp (after Humphry Davy), the flame of which elongates when the gas is present.
Related category• INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY
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