Effective Utilization of Tracer Gas in Characterization of Underground Mine Ventilation Networks


Tracer gases are an effective method for assessing mine ventilation systems, especially when other techniques are impractical. Based on previously completed laboratory and field experiments, this paper discusses some common and challenging issues encountered when using tracer gases in underground mines. The discussion includes tracer release methods, sampling and analysis techniques. Additionally, the use of CFD to optimize the design of tracer gas experiments is also presented. Finally, guidelines and recommendations are provided on the use of tracer gases in the characterization of underground mine ventilation networks. This work has informed the practical use of tracer gases in mines, and this body of knowledge is expected to contribute to more efficient and more common use of tracer gases by mine engineers, which will allow for better characterization of mine ventilation system and improved safety. The findings can also be used when using the tracer gas technique in the evaluation of atmospheric environment and air quality investigation in buildings.


Mining Engineering


This publication was developed under Contract No. 200-2009-31933 , awarded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Keywords and Phrases

Air quality; Characterization; Gases; Mine ventilation; Quality control; Ventilation; CFD modeling; Evacuated gas sampler; Experimental optimization; Tracer gas; Underground mine ventilation; Gas chromatography; Evacuated gas sampler

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2016 Institution of Chemical Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2016