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Estimation of metabolic heat input for refuge alternative thermal testing and simulation

Mining Engineering , 2018, Vol. 70, No. 8, pp. 50-54

Bernard, T.E.; Yantek, D.S.; Thimons, E.D.



Refuge alternatives provide shelter to miners trapped underground during a disaster. Manufacturers must demonstrate that their refuge alternatives meet the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requirements for oxygen supply, carbon dioxide removal, and management of heat from the occupants and mechanical/chemical systems. In this study, miner size and activity level were used to determine the metabolic heat rate, oxygen requirements and carbon dioxide generation that are representative of miners in a refuge situation. A convenience sample of 198 male miners was used for the distribution of current U.S. coal miners, and the composite 95th percentile height and weight were determined to be 193 cm (76 in.) and 133 kg (293 lb). The resting metabolic rate (RMR) was determined to be representative of activity level in a refuge alternative. The highest likely metabolic heat generation ranged from 113 to 134 W, depending on occupancy. The highest required oxygen supply and carbon dioxide removal were estimated to be 23 L (0.81 cu ft) of oxygen per hour per person and 20 L (0.71 cu ft) of carbon dioxide per hour per person, which means the margin of safety is 50 percent or more compared with the MSHA requirements. The information on metabolic heat generation can be used to assess refuge alternative thermal environments by testing or simulation. The required oxygen supply and carbon dioxide removal can be used to assess refuge alternative requirements.