New Approaches to the Design and Evaluation of Mine Stoppings and Seals


There are a number of challenges arising from changes to regulations covering ventilation control devices in Queensland. There is a paucity of information on the appropriate selection and use of stopping and seals in mines. Compounding this until recently there was no prospect of the development of a full-scale test facility within Australia. The paper describes recent research undertaken to both develop, evaluate and calibrate a full-scale pressure test facility for ventilation control devices (VCD) within Australia, and examine a number of important aspects of stopping and seal performance, usage, design and application for the coal mining industry. A review of the safety of coal mining operations after the Moura Number 2 explosion resulted in changes to mining regulations in Queensland. Under the new regulations, ventilation control devices are required to be tested at “an internationally recognised mine testing explosion gallery” to achieve pressure ratings of 14, 35, 70, 140 or 345 kPa. These changes have highlighted the lack of information of the appropriate selection and use of stopping seals in mines and the strategic need for the development of a full-scale test facility within Australia. A combination of computational fluid dynamics (to model the methane/air explosion through time and space), finite element analysis (to model the structure's response to the pressure impulse) and measurements from full-scale tests have been used in the project. In practice, it is possible to physically test only one structure full-scale, and then predict its ultimate strength using computer modelling and appropriate data obtained from the testing. The prediction can be then validated/corrected by further, more powerful impulses applied to the structure up to and exceeding its ultimate strength. This project has successfully proved that an Australian explosion test facility can be used in the testing and approval of new mine VCDs. Through a better understanding of the performance of stopping and seals in mines, it will be possible to select the most appropriate seal for a particular application and hence maximise safety and economy outcomes.


Mining Engineering


Australian Coal Association Research Program
South Blackwater Coal Limited

Keywords and Phrases

Mines; Seals; Stopping; Ventilation Control

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2000 Queensland Mining Industry, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2000