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Thermal design for shaft sinking in Khalashpir coalfield using conventional freezing method

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2014, Vol. 336, No. 1, pp. 391-395

Farazi, A.H.; Quamruzzaman, C.


The freezing and subsequent solidifying of unstable, weak (sands, silts and clays) and/or wet soil to form a desired-shape frozen barrier around a construction area are possibly the main features of the freezing method for shaft sinking. The barrier, along with strengthening the soil, provides a dry environment to ensure sustainable subsurface construction work before placing a permanent lining. The freezing method requires the installation of freezing pipes in boreholes around the construction area and the circulation of chilled salt water through these pipes and has long been a proven technique for dry shaft sinking through unstable and water-bearing seam around the world. As removing heat from the ground is the main feature of the method, an efficient thermal design of the freezing process is mandatory to ensure success of the shaft sinking operation. This applies to both the sustainability and economy of the intended structure. The design presented in this paper is aimed at figuring out the heat-removing ability and operating time of the refrigerative equipment using some simple formulae. The authors adopted a theoretical approach to determine the quantity of heat to be removed from the ground. The amount of energy for the equipment was found to be greater than that for freezing, which proved the validity of the design. The active freezing period was calculated to be 121 days. The authors followed the structural design of the freezing process they proposed in their previous work (Farazi and Quamruzzaman, 2013). Though the first coal seam in the coalfield was encountered at a depth of approximately 352 m in the subsurface, the target depth for cooling and freezing was decided to be 162 m. The formation demands extra care to nullify its risk of the temporary structure collapsing and water rushing in (Farazi et al., 2012). Discussion on the determination of refrigerative equipment parameters was excluded from the scope of this work.