Fire Simulation Cost Reduction for Improved Safety and Response for Underground Spaces

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Virginia Tech


Over the past century, great strides have been made in the advancement of mine fire knowledge since the 1909 Cherry Mine Fire Disaster, one of the worst in U.S. history. However, fire hazards remain omnipresent in underground coal mines in the U.S. and around the world. A precise fire numerical analysis (simulation) before any fire events can give a broad view of the emergency scenarios, leading to improved emergency response, and better health and safety outcomes. However, the simulation cost of precise large complex dynamical systems such as fire in underground mines makes practical and even theoretical application challenging. This work details a novel methodology to reduce fire and airflow simulation costs in order to make simulation of complex systems around fire and mine ventilation systems viable. This study will examine the development of a Reduced Order Model (ROM) to predict the flow field of an underground mine geometry using proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to reduce the airflow simulation cost in a nonlinear model. ROM proves to be an effective tool for approximating several possible solutions near a known solution, resulting in significant time savings over calculating full solutions and suitable for ensemble calculations. In addition, a novel iterative methodology was developed based on the physics of the fluid structure, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) of the dynamical system, and the vortex dynamics to determine the interface boundary in multiscale (3D-1D) fire simulations of underground space environments. The proposed methodology was demonstrated to be a useful technique for the determination of near and far fire fields, and could be applied across a broad range of flow simulations and mine geometries. Moreover, this research develops a methodology to analyze the tenable limits in a methane fire event in an underground coal mine for bare-faced miners, mine rescue teams, and fire brigade teams in order to improve safety and training of personnel trained to fight fires. The outcomes of this research are specific to mining although the methods outlined might have broader impacts on the other fields such as tunneling and underground spaces technology, HVAC, and fire protection engineering industries.



Fire Simulation Cost Reduction, Fire in Underground Space Environments, Multiscale Methodology, Reduced Order Model (ROM), Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD), Road Tunnel Fire, Mine Fire, Tenability Analysis