Here are a few of the codes you may choose to use to design, analyze, and operate you ventilation system. I include some information about the capabilities of each code, not only because this saves you looking up the links, but it also helps us understand the many aspects of a ventilation system that need to be addressed.

Ventsim appears to be one of the leading computer codes for mine ventilation analysis. They describe their code thus:

"Ventsim is an underground mine ventilation simulation package designed to simulate airflows (and many other types of ventilation data) from a modeled network of airways. Ventsim is the first ventilation package to integrate an easy to use Windows graphical design with a 3D graphics interface. The software is currently used by over 300 mines, universities, consultants and research organizations throughout the world."

Mine Ventilation Services lists a suite of computer codes for mine ventilation planning, design, and analysis. These include:

VnetPC: Given data that describes the geometry of the mine network, airway resistance or dimensions, and the location and characteristic curves of fans, the program will provide detailed listings and graphical representations of:

  • Branch Airflows.
  • Frictional Pressure Drops.
  • Airway Resistance.
  • Air Power Losses in Airways.
  • Ventilation Cost of Each Airway.
  • Fan Operating Points (Pressures and Airflows).
  • Duties of Required Regulators and Booster Fans

MineFire: MineFire allows the user to simulate fires, heat flow, contaminant flow, and/or natural ventilation in underground ventilation networks using the familiar VnetPC graphical and tabular interfaces. Results are displayed both symbolically and numerically on the schematic.

DuctSIM: DuctSIM is a simulation program designed for both the mining and tunnelling industries to assist engineers and planners with the design and modelling of fan and duct systems. It provides a new user-friendly, cost-effective tool to quickly design, model, and analyze proposed or existing duct systems ranging from small secondary fan/duct installations to large series-fan systems.According to input data, the user is able to construct models and optimize them by considering duct type and diameter, shock losses, and the number, type and spacing of fans. The program may be used for initial design, or to help troubleshoot and improve existing duct installations. It is useful in showing personnel the reasons behind a poor installation and ways to improve the system, resulting in safer working conditions.

ClimSIM: ClimSIM for Windows (Version 1.0) is a computer software program that is designed to aid mine ventilation and environmental engineers in the prediction of the thermodynamic and psychrometric properties of air as it flows through underground airways. The program takes into account geothermal gradient, rock thermal conductivity and diffusivity, airflow, air quality, age of the excavation, wetness of the rock surfaces and the sitting and capacity of machinery, heat exchangers or other local or disseminated sources of heat and humidity.

Other ventilation software is reviewed by Gibbs Associates. Here are summaries of some that she reviews in extensor:

MIVENA: This ventilation simulator was developed in 1986 and consists of the analytical calculation systems, as well as RDBMS, the 2D/3D graphic CAD system for deformed network skeleton and air-conditioning design system. The main functions of the MIVENA program are as follows:

1) A system to account for airflow rate and climate.

2) The computer aided air-conditioning (cooling and heating) system developed to estimate airflow climate by using a psychrometric system.

3) A psychrometric chart to deal with air conditions applicable to a very deep underground mine.

I could not link to the website Betty gives. She says to contact Akita University, Department of Earth Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Resource Science, Akita 010-0852. JAPAN. E-mail: sasaki@uws47.mine.akita-u.ac.jp. I do not know if they still work on this topic.

VUMA: VUMA is a windows-based software package for simulating atmospheric and environmental conditions in underground mines. Joint developers are CSIR Miningtek, and Bluhm Burton Engineering of South Africa. VUMA allows a mine network to be built up by linking numerous component elements, each with specific aerodynamic, thermodynamic and contaminant characteristics. The basic component elements [branches] comprise: shafts, shaft stations, tunnels, development headings, stopes, fans, control manager elements [which include air coolers and regulators].

The program simulates ventilation flows, temperatures, humidity and dust and gas concentrations throughout any mine network. It can be applied to a full variety of underground mining methods for narrow-reefs, massive ore-bodies and colliery layouts with different levels of mechanization.

Two- and 3-dimensional graphic enhancements facilitate creating, editing and analysis of mine ventilation networks. The software can be used as a planning tool and as a means of verifying environmental and energy parameters in operational mines. The concept of real-time VUMA network analysis driven by on-line monitors has great benefits for energy consumption control and reduced operating costs.

Heat flows, dust and gas loads are calculated and can be used to analyze cooling strategies, contaminant dilution and ventilation tactics. These include overall energy requirements and fans, air coolers and scrubber/filter needs. VUMA can be used for effective energy management and the creation of safe and healthy conditions in mines.

Verified engineering principles are used to accurately calculate and quantify the relevant parameters. However, in mining environments, there are some inputs that are difficult to quantify and rating categories have been developed for these inputs. For example, categories are provided for: rock surface wetness, condition of pipe insulation, diesel work cycles, moisture ratings of heat sources, in-stope water use and others.

A ‘steady-state’ flow simulator calculates aerodynamic, thermodynamic and contaminant dynamic [and tracking] properties. In underground environments, ‘transient-state’ simulations of these parameters are only important in particular circumstances [for example power failures]. ‘Transient-state’ simulators form another class of software and are available as separate stand-alone products.

For more information contact Mr. Gerrit Lok, CSIR Miningtek, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2006, South Africa. Telephone: 27-11-358-0000; FAX: 27-11-482-3267; E-mail: glok@csir.co.za or Mr. Frank von Glehn, Bluhm Burton Engineering, South Africa. Telephone: 27-11-886-3002; FAX: 27-11-886-3566; E-mail: bbe@global.co.za