A Rapid Method of Calculating Temperature Increases Along Mine Airways

Starfield, A. M.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 11, 1969
Discussion J. de V. Lambrechts (Fellow): The author's paper is a brilliant follow-up of an earlier paper by Starfield and Dickson.1 I have no quarrel with Dr Starfield's computerization of a complex problem, but I do not believe that he is getting quite the right answers from his programme. My impression is that his predictions about wet bulb temperature increases in very deep mines are over optimistic; in other words, that it will be hotter than Dr Starfield predicts. This is putting my views in a nutshell. This is not the occasion on which to indulge in lengthy argument about the original paper by Starfield and Dickson, but the present paper is, after all, based directly on that earlier paper and if the one fails, the other cannot succeed. I did level certain criticisms at the first paper and cannot say that the authors' replies were very convincing. I do not think it is a sin to admit that I belong to the old school which believes in thorough field experimentation and practical trials and no amount of mathematical manipulation or physical theorizing, no matter how excellent, can make up for inadequate practical confirmation. This, as I see it, is still the crux of the matter. The original paper by Starfield and Dickson still rests on somewhat scanty practical evidence and I would be much happier if Dr Starfield's computer programme, based on the Starfield-Dickson model, had been checked against a large mass of observations in the practical mining situation. This is what both Wiles2 and myself3 had tried to do previously. What we lacked in mathematics and/or computer aids, I think the present paper by Dr Starfield lacks in practical substantiation. This is no condemnation of the author's paper which, taken by itself, is excellent but I think the final stage is still lacking, namely the bringing together of theory and empiricism in a manner acceptable to all. This may be wishful thinking on my part but I hope, within the next year or so, to come up with a modified Starfield-Dickson model in such a way that the computer answers will agree in the majority of cases with the few hundred field observations which are already on record. It might be a case of applying the proverbial 'Cook's Law' to the Starfield-Dickson model! REFERENCES 1. STARFIELD, A. M., and DICKSON,A. J. 'A study of heat transfer and moisture pick-up in mine airways.' J. S. Air. Inst. Min. Metall., 68, (5), 1967. 2. WILES, G. G. 'Wet bulb temperature gradients in horizontal airways.' J. S. Air. Inst. Min. Metall., 59, (7), 1959, p. 339. 3. LAMBRECHTS, J. DE V. 'Prediction of wet bulb temperature gradients in mine airways.' J. S. Air. Inst. Min. Metall., 67, (11), 1967, p. 595. R. Hemp (Visitor): Dr Starfield's paper has very effectively rounded off one particular aspect of the general problem of heat flow in mines. The ease with which this computer programme can be used to calculate temperature increases in horizontal airways must lead to its wider use in ventilation planning and, in developing this rapid method, Dr Starfield has indeed rendered a valuable service to the mining industry. One could consider further instances of heat flow in airways in which the availability of a rapid computer method would be desirable, e.g. the flow of air down a shaft, where there is an increase in temperature due to adiabatic compression, as well as an increase in virgin rock temperature as the depth increases. However, this particular case would not present any new problems and would merely require an extension of the exisitng work. I should like in this contribution to talk about an aspect of environmental control in mines which, I think, will become more important in the future. It is well known that wet bulb temperatures are subject to fluctuations underground. In some instances, particularly in stopes, the fluctuations, both with time and position, can be considerable. The theoretical work which has been carried out on temperature increases has been aimed at the prediction of mean temperatures, and no account has been taken of fluctuations around this mean. It is questionable whether this approach will, on its own, be sufficient, particularly when temperature increases in stopes are considered. The fluctuations in air temperatures underground arise from two causes. The first of these would be the fluctuations in surface conditions, and here one could list random, diurnal and seasonal fluctuations. The second cause is the multitude of things which vary in a mine and here one could list variations in air flow quantity, sources of evaporation, heat transfer from pump and compressed air columns and, particularly in the stope, variations in air flow patterns. Fluctuations arising from surface temperature variations should be amenable to calculation, and here one envisages figures relating the decay of temperature variation with distance to factors such as air flow quantity. Fluctuations resulting from changes in the mine are perhaps more difficult to tackle theoretically and the best approach could well be to analyse underground observations. In this connection, there is a good case to be made for the increased use of statistical methods in the analysis of underground temperature measurements, and it might be of value to look at current air-conditioning practice. When carrying out cooling load calculations for a particular location it is customary to use design wet bulb
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