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Challenges in CFD modeling of air flow in open-pit mines

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2013, Vol. 334, No. 1, pp. 449-456

Raj, K.V.; Collingwood, W.; Bandopadhyay, S.


In the mining industry, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling is used extensively to simulate air flow in underground mines. CFD modeling of pollutant transport in openpit mines is relatively new. Modeling the actual pit geometry of an openpit mine and the open domain is complex. The complexity is primarily due to the faceted geometry of an openpit mine with its numerous associated sharp features. Important issues that are not considered carefully at the geometry level are generally propagated to the subsequent processes. Several challenges and pitfalls are encountered in modeling pollutant transport in openpit mines. These challenges and pitfalls are related to the geometry, meshing, boundary conditions and turbulence modeling parameterization. An appropriate mesh selection is critical. A detailed discussion of the meshing of the domain of an openpit mine is presented in this paper. The selection of an appropriate turbulence model, such as kappa-epsilon (κ-ε), large eddy simulation (LES), Reynolds stress model (RSM), etc., to obtain the best possible solution is equally significant. This paper discusses the various challenges in modeling the pollutant transport process in an openpit and some of the approaches adopted to address these challenges.