Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Andrzej M. Wala

Abstract

Two of the main safety and health issues recognized during deep cut coal mining are methane and dust hazards. Advances in continuous miner technology have improved safety and productivity. However, these advances have created some environmental problems, notably more dust and methane being generated at the face during coal extraction.

Results of studies performed in the last three decades concerning the face ventilation for deep cut mining showed very complicated airflow behavior. The specifics of flow patterns developed by the face ventilation systems presents significant challenge for analytical description even for equipment-free entry. Fortunately, there are methods, such as numerical simulations that could be used to provide an engineering solution to the problem. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes have been successfully applied during the last decade using the power of Supercomputers. Although significant progress has been made, a benchmark industry oriented CFD code dedicated to face ventilation is still not available.

The goal of this project is to provide the mining industry a software for CFD analysis and design of face ventilation systems. A commercial CFD system SC/Tetra Thermofluid Analysis System with Unstructured Mesh Generator, copyright © Cradle Co, was selected for a development platform. A number of CFD models were developed for the needs of this study including methane release, dust generation, 3D models of commonly used continuous mining machines, scrubbers and water spray systems. The developed models and the used CFD code were successfully validated in the part for methane dilution, using available data from small scale and full scale experiments. The developed models for simulation of dust control systems need to be validated in the future. The developed code automates all necessary steps needed for simulation of face ventilation systems, starting with the construction of a 3D model, generation of the computational mesh, solving and monitoring the calculations, to post-processing and graphical representation of the obtained results. This code shall allow mining engineers to design better and safer face ventilation systems while providing the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) a tool to check and approve the industry’ proposed ventilation plans.

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