Mine-Ventilation Simulation and Analysis

Anderson, Thomas C. ; Dvorkin, David
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 19
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION A major function of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Denver Safety and Health Technology Center (DSHTC), Ventilation Branch, is to provide engineering analyses of underground mine¬ ventilation systems for coal, metal, and nonmetal in¬spection departments in accordance with field surveys and data analyses. Health and safety problems such as the control of diesel contaminants, dust, methane, radon, and radon daughters all are dependent upon ventilation. It is necessary for the ventilation engineers at DSHTC to have a complete understanding of the various and highly complex ventilation systems used in the nation's mines. Only through the proper assembly and analysis of data can the engineer determine the causes of prob¬lems and make suitable recommendations. Furthermore, the engineer must have the ability to predict the results of any such recommendations. In the study of the ventilation system at any indi¬vidual mine, it is common practice to collect data on airflow quantities and pressures at key points throughout the mine. However, these data give only a single point¬-in-time view of the system. As the mine develops and progresses, the system undergoes numerous changes; as the mine becomes more extensive, the ventilation re¬quirements increase, and the costs rise. For proper utilization of the available resources, it is necessary for the engineer to have a sound engineering basis for deci¬sions on how best to ventilate the mine. To evaluate the system as a whole, particularly re¬garding possible system changes, it has become necessary to rely on computers to perform the calculations in¬volved in analyzing the network. This chapter sum¬marizes the implementation of such computer capabili¬ties at DSHTC, as well as the services that are available from DSHTC. ANALOG SIMULATIONS AND ANALYSES OF VENTILATION NETWORKS As early as 1954, the US Bureau of Mines (USBM) in Pittsburgh, PA, was using an analog computer as an aid in analyzing ventilation systems. The Mcllroy Fluid Network Analyzer used filament-tube resistance elements and an electrical power supply to simulate mine-ventila¬tion systems electrically. This system is shown in Fig. 1. Analog simulation has proven to be a practical tool, providing fast analyses of complicated problems after the initial setup has been completed. Advancements in electronic technology over the past 24 years have made possible the construction of an analog computer that has streamlined several operating features of the previous machines. The DSHTC Ventilation Branch now has an improved electronic analog computer to assist in the analyses of ventilation systems. General Features As shown in Fig. 2, the analog computer used at the DSHTC Ventilation Branch has three "element" cabi¬ nets, a console, and a printer. The cabinets contain the fan elements and the airway-resistance elements that are used to "program" an analysis problem; each element is independent of the others. The console contains the "patchboard" and the controls necessary to operate the analog computer. The patchboard connects the inde¬pendent elements into the circuit appropriate for simu¬lating the ventilation system. The total system is controlled from a panel on the console, while the value corresponding to each element is set on the individual controls located on the face of each element. The control panel has three visual output displays that give the quantity of flow, the pressure of the output junction with respect to a datum, and the differential pressure across each element. The control panel also allows manual selection of the element to be monitored, or automatic scanning and printing of values for the entire system. Capabilities The analog computer can simulate an existing mine¬-ventilation network. This is accomplished by collecting field data at the mine to give a complete pressure-¬quantity network. Resistance values for each airway branch may be determined from the quantity of flow in the branch and from the pressure differential between the end-point junctions of the branch. The basic rela¬tonship to determine the resistance is expressed as: H=R •Q2 where H is the pressure differential, R is the resistance, and Q is the quantity of air in the flow. After the resistance values are known for all of the airways in the circuit, the elements on the analog com¬puter can be set to the corresponding values. The elements are designed to reflect the basic relationships, with electrical potentials corresponding to pressures and
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