Designing an experimental apparatus for the testing of novel tracer gases in underground mines

John Bowling
Thursday, June 17, 2010
First presented: 
13th North American Mine Ventilation Symposium
Published paper
Mine Ventilation
Following a disaster in which ventilation controls have been potentially damaged, the use of multiple tracer gases could allow for rapid assessment of the functionality of ventilation controls. This paper describes the design of an experimental apparatus for the testing of novel tracer gases for mine ventilation surveys. The experimental apparatus will be modeled after a simple mine layout in a tabular deposit. Injection points at the top of the apparatus will allow for the injection and sampling of tracer gases, simulating mine boreholes. Non-adsorbing material will be used to construct the model mine as well as an airtight seal to prevent leakage of tracer gases. Round duct will be used to create the tunnels and will include at least three entries with an exhausting fan. Airflow velocities will be monitored and recorded through sensors placed throughout the experimental apparatus and gas concentrations will be determined from the analysis of samples taken from the apparatus. The model mine will be used to explore the viability of the use of multiple tracer gases for more rapid ventilation surveys by simultaneous injection of the tracer gases into several points that are sampled at a common point, decreasing the time required to perform multiple ventilation surveys. This apparatus will be used in future research including developing methodologies for releasing and sampling tracer gases as well as learning how to quickly model a mine ventilation plan using computational fluid dynamics software.

Feature Author

John Bowling

Mr. Bowling has over 6 years of experience in mine ventilation system design and analyses for metal, non-metal, and coal mines around the world. He plans, coordinates and conducts ventilation surveys and audits of underground mines and other facilities. John also teaches short courses in underground mine ventilation, measurement, planning and modeling. He manages the NQA-1 quality assurance program for SRK’s work in subsurface nuclear facilities and is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and New Mexico.

Mine Ventilation Specialist
SRK Clovis
SRK North America