MineFire is a Fire and Gas Flow Simulation Software MineFire is a Windows-based package of programs that combines the utility of the former US Bureau of Mines' MFire code with Windows data representation, and the user-friendliness and reliability of the VnetPC program. MineFire allows the user to simulate fires, heat flow, contaminant flow, and/or natural ventilation in underground ventilation networks using the familiar VnetPC graphical and tabular interfaces. Results are displayed both symbolically and numerically on the schematic. This gives the user flexibility in utilizing the software package as a training tool, or for other uses specific to your needs.

Some important factors to keep in mind when evaluating and using MineFire:

  • MineFire runs in all Windows operating systems and is designed to be used in parallel with VnetPC. Note that the MineFire program executes only the MFire calculation kernel. MVS modified this code only to increase the branch and fan limit and to allow it to compile in a Windows environment.

  • MineFire is based on mass-balance equations. This means that the results of identical basic models between VnetPC and MineFire may not match exactly (VnetPC is based on volume-balance).

Key Features

In addition to the functionality of VnetPC, MineFire includes the following:

  • Ability to import an existing ventilation network from VnetPC 2000, 2003 or 2007, or start a new model from MineFire. Import DXF files from AutoCAD or other CAD programs just like VnetPC.

  • Fully interactive schematic allows editing and data entry of ventilation parameters, rock property data, and temperatures without having to use the table views. Table views allow the user to cut and paste data to and from Excel or other spreadsheet programs, useful for performing calculations and returning the answers to the program.

  • Dynamic results view in the schematic shows the progression of fume fronts and changes to the ventilation parameters over adjustable time increments. See the progression of the fire, and problems it might be causing.

  • Ability to vary and control parameters of the calculations using the Control Card functions, including time increments, calculation precisions, use of the fan curve, and more.

  • Ability to change the properties of a branch between an ordinary airway, fire branch, or fan branch during the course of an event through the use of a time table. Increased control of the simulation, to approximate complex situations.

  • Offered in dual units, Imperial and SI, including a conversion utility.

Applications and Uses

Transient distribution modeling is useful in a number of ways. The assumption of constant airflow rates is justified at the initiation of a fire, however at a later stage, an intense fire may noticeably impact the ventilation system. With the fire intensity controlled in part by the air supply to the fire, this interaction must be taken into account. Planners may not have accounted for this effect when designing escape routes, fire warning systems, locating fire doors, or designing other components of an underground facility's emergency plan.

Fire, and the disturbances it causes to mine ventilation are of concern to engineers. Fire events in the underground produce heat, fumes, and smoke which the ventilation system transports through the mine. Gases can be poisonous or explosive. Heat can change the intended flow of the ventilation system, which can transport fumes along unexpected routes, or have other unintended consequences. Recirculation of contaminated air is yet another possibility.

MineFire can be used to:

  • Design, locate, and model components of the mine system, such as fire doors and fuel bays. Model fires in shops or fuel bays, or test gas dispersion (stench) for possible scenarios.

  • Train, teach, and show mine personnel how a fire affects the mine. Changes to the ventilation, time available for escape, and how fast the fume front moves are all useful for mine personnel to know. The visual display aspect of the program is especially helpful.

  • Investigate or estimate fires or possible fire scenarios. Predict what could happen or what has happened and analyze results.


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