Design Aspects of Underground Rescue Chambers


The use of refuge chambers in underground emergencies is an issue of importance within the US mining industry. Chamber designs need to meet some new safety requirements of the US federal and state government mine regulations. A review has been undertaken of steel mine refuge chamber designs to predict what will be internal temperature within the chamber with miners present? These have been examined for the normal situation when the chamber is sited in still mine air and uncooled and when the ambient conditions within the chamber are artificially cooled. Spreadsheets have been developed to test various design assumptions. The evaluation has been undertaken using thermodynamic heat transfer models with some assumptions specified to produce a model of appropriate simplicity but with adequate degree of accuracy. Under normal still air conditions it can be seen that internal chamber conditions rise quickly to often arduous conditions. A second series of evaluations have been undertaken that examine the effects of cooling systems that can maintain internal conditions at more acceptable conditions for the extended time periods that the chambers may be in use.

Meeting Name

2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit, SME 2012 (2012: Feb. 19-22, Seattle, WA)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Heat Stress and Strain; Mine Heat Sources; Rescue Chamber

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2012 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

22 Feb 2012

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