This past fall, Dr. Kyle Perry, along with other co-investigators, received a $1.25M grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While the goals of the grant cover two different areas of research, both are aimed at improving safety at surface and underground mines.
One aspect of the grant involves researching high wall stability and the effects of ground vibrations upon it—typically due to blasting. The team, led by Dr. Perry, plans to monitor high walls (any vertical face at a mine) for displacement and correlate it with ground vibrations that might have caused the movement. Aided by seismographs, blast records and a laser scanning able to create a point cloud of the wall, Dr. Perry will be able to create a model able to inform mining engineers about the vulnerability of their high walls relative to their blasting amplitude.
The other part of the grant is intended to investigate the benefit of LED lighting technology in underground coal mines. LED lights have the potential to give engineers a different picture of what they see compared to normal incandescent or halogen lighting. The team will incorporate a bank of LED lights onto roof bolting machines and determine if the different quality of light allows technicians to identify places where extra roof bolts are needed.
“Both parts of the grant are designed to increase the level of safety at underground and surface mines,” says Dr. Perry. “We hope our findings on high wall stability and LED lighting can prevent any unfortunate and unnecessary accidents.”