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Mining Contract: Development of a Method for the Remote Characterization of Underground Mine Ventilation Control by Multiple Tracer Gases

Contract DetailValue
Contract #200-2009-31933
Start Date9/1/2009
Research Concept

This contract will result in a technology that will allow for (1) simulation of tracer gas profiles under normal operating conditions in an underground coal mine, (2) rapid collection of tracer gas profiles during an emergency situation at an underground mine, (3) rapid input of mine ventilation parameters for simulation during an emergency situation, and (4) determination of the state of ventilation controls via comparison of collected and simulated profiles, including the nature of the damage and the general location of the damage.

Program Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract has nine objectives:

1. Identify multiple tracer gases appropriate for use in underground mine.

2. Design and build an experimental apparatus that is appropriate for testing gases and basic gas profile generation.

3. Use the experimental apparatus to generate baseline tracer gas profiles under normal operating conditions. Successfully model these profiles using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and then collect tracer gas measurements from the experimental data after changing the ventilation configuration. Successfully use this new profile to determine the new ventilation configuration.

4. Identify a methodology for the storage, release, sampling, and measurement of the tracer gases at field sites.

5. Procure baseline profiles of the tracer gases at the field site for normal operating conditions and calibrate the CFD model so that realistic theoretical baseline profiles are generated.

6. Procure baseline profiles of the tracer gases after a planned ventilation change at the mine and successfully identify the location(s) and nature of ventilation changes.

7. Develop a methodology to rapidly import mine maps and ventilation systems into CFD, and produce a user interface appropriate for mine emergency situations.

8. Develop a comprehensive methodology for the transfer of this technology to emergency situations at underground mines.

9. Disseminate research findings to a wide audience, encouraging discussion for improvement to the technology and further research.

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