Whitfield Minerals and Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) have teamed together to develop a tool to predict the performance of underground ventilation control devices (VCDs).
The companies analysed explosion dynamics and structural responses of full-size VCDs with data obtained from live underground testing earlier this year.
“The results were then used to develop a tool that can assess the required thickness of a VCD for any combination of height, width, over pressure, head of water and factor of safety for any individual site,” Principal Structural Engineer at PB Michael Salu told MINING DAILY.
The project indicated that Aquacrete achieved specified industry ratings within 24 hours and a compressive strength of 14MPa in as little as 48 hours and 25MPa in 28 days.
“The resultant computational model has now been developed to form an integral part of the ventilation management plan of underground mines,” Salu said.
According to Salu, the model will improve safety and productivity in underground coal mines by minmising hazards from spontaneous heating, gas migration and explosions.
“It provides ventilation officers with the assurance that correctly installed VCDs conform to industry specifications and reduce the need for on-site testing.”
Salu said the model can be incorporated into ventilation management planning and provide management with thickness and strength specifications for individual VCD sites.
He expects the model will be widely adopted in underground operations and go a long way to improving safety and productivity in Australian mines.
Whitfield Minerals is now concluding further studies into non-destructive testing protocols for installed ventilation control devices.