Mining Contract: Development of a Low Cost LIDAR Ground Control Hazard Detecting Network
In underground mines, many roof falls and pillar failures are preceded by small accelerating movement and therefore can often be predicted, if the appropriate measurements can be taken. If detected in time, mine workers might be able to remediate the failing structures, or at minimum have advance notice that they need to evacuate the area. Using new, small, inexpensive, solid-state Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) scanners that can detect roof and rib change of a millimeter or smaller, this research could result in an early warning system for mines.
Contract Status & Impact
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Roof and pillar failures constitute a real hazard in many underground mines. The current method used to predict failure of these structures in order to have time to do something about them requires measurements using a large number of extensometers. The cost of installing these instruments throughout a typical mine is prohibitive. However, new, solid-state LIDAR scanners are becoming increasingly less costly. By integrating these solid-state LIDAR scanners and inexpensive peer-to-peer line of sight wireless networking, such a system could effectively serve the same purpose as more costly systems and allow more mines to take advantage of this kind of early detection and warning technology.
Additionally, inexpensive sensors for environmental monitoring can be attached to each node at underground intersections in order to detect temperature, relative humidity, dust, vibration, light, barometric pressure, CO, CO2, O2, H2, CH4, or SO2, offering even more information to mine workers underground and operators on the surface.
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