The Evaluation of Heading Ventilation Systems Through the use of Computer Simulations

Oberholzer, J. W. ; Meyer, C. F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
The increased use of continuous miners to extract thicker coal seams has necessitated the use of enhanced ventilation systems in the headings. Due to the increased face size, more ventilation is required to effectively dilute the liberated methane down to acceptable levels. If more air is directed to the face an increase in the entrainment of dust creates an increased potential for workers to be exposed to dust. To enable the ventilation systems to reduce the methane levels and the levels of the airborne dust the ventilation systems in the heading have to be carefully designed. The matter is made more complicated through the use of other ventilation methods like jet fans, air-moving sprayfans on the continuous miners and high capacity scrubbers on the continuous miners. To enable the design of a balanced ventilation system in seam heights of over five metres requires methods that consider the system in a three- dimensional manner rather than in a two-dimensional fashion. Through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) coupled with appropriate methods of taking underground face ventilation readings these problems can be solved in a cost effective way. Using computer modelling, ventilation methods can be designed and assessed instead of using costly underground trials to test the alternatives. Use of this system has led to a higher level of ventilation design as well as a more effective method to combat the health and safety hazards in coal mine headings.
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