Mining Contract: Atmospheric Analysis of Refuge Alternatives
This Interagency Agreement (IAA) with NASA to tap into NASA's expertise in these subject areas. The project goal is to gain an improved understanding of allowable/safe CO2 concentrations and scrubbing methods, methods to remove CO in case of complete chamber contamination, and the effect of chamber design, occupancy, and ambient mine conditions on chamber heat and humidity.
Contract Status & Impact
This contract is ongoing.
Task 1: Initial results, based on NASA's extensive experience in manned space craft flight, indicated that the metabolic rates used for CO2 exhalation and O2 inhalation to design, test, and approve refuge alternatives were at the high end of the range expected for this population and on the conservative side. NASA guidance on CO2 concentrations is currently 0.7% over 7 days, a situation similar to the mine refuge situation of 0.5% over 96 hours.
Task 2: A list of potential CO scrubbing methods has been generated, a protocol for testing the efficiency of these methods to remove varying concentrations of CO was developed, and test equipment was modified and tested. The laboratory scale evaluations have been completed. Results are pending.
Task 3: A computer program is being modified and will be used to generate an analysis of heat within a refuge alternative as the exterior temperature increases. A number of parameters will be adjusted, such as initial chamber temperature, mine ambient temperature, occupant metabolic rate, scrubber heat load, and chamber characteristics. Beta testing is in progress, and final simulations will be completed shortly.