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Mining Contract: New Vest Style Escape SCSR Through SCSR Efficiency Improvement Study

Contract DetailValue
Contract #12FED1213244
Start Date6/1/2012
Research Concept

This research will investigate efficiency improvements for pure oxygen breathing apparatuses used by miners in emergencies, namely self-contained self-rescuers, and develop an improved ergonomic design.

Program Areas

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is ongoing.

This contract was funded as part of an interagency agreement program, which provides a formal means for federal government agencies to share and further technology that could apply to and benefit mine safety and health. OMSHR identifies other government agencies with the knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to a health and safety gap and works collaboratively with these agencies to identify the type of technology solution desired and to determine specifications for this technology.

Following a catastrophic event, mine workers and rescue teams may be exposed to harmful gases in the mine atmosphere. Breathing air supplies (BAS) technologies are used to isolate the lungs from this atmosphere or provide refuge alternatives where the atmosphere is controlled. Breathing air supplies for underground mining refer to a range of devices and systems that offer respiratory protection to miners in the event of an emergency. Some examples of BAS are self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs), closed-circuit oxygen breathing apparatus (CCBAs), and gas supplies for refuge alternatives. Advanced BAS technology could improve a mine worker’s chances of surviving a mine disaster.

Current SCSRs operate inefficiently by providing a constant flow rate of oxygen that is not based on the user's breathing pattern. Because of their design, current SCSRs also tire users by requiring "respiratory pulling" on the demand valve when users are breathing more heavily. The objective of this research is to develop a vest style mine escape SCSR by studying and adapting efficiency enhancements that can be applied to existing SCSRs.

Under this contract, the Navy Experimental Diving Unit will improve the efficiency of the current SCSR oxygen dosing system by incorporating electronic and/or mechanical ventilation-linked, dosing valve control designs into a hybrid prototype using existing mining SCSRs as a test platform. Then, a one-hour duration vest style SCSR prototype will be developed for mine escape. Both unmanned and manned performance testing of the resultant prototype will be performed according to 42 CFR Part 84 Subpart O, "Closed-Circuit Escape Respirators," focusing on the performance and capacity characteristics of this design.

 
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