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Geosystem Engineering

ISSN: 1226-9328 (Print) 2166-3394 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tges20

A study on the fire propagation characteristics in


large-opening multi-level limestone mines in Korea

Changwoo Lee & Vanduc Nguyen

To cite this article: Changwoo Lee & Vanduc Nguyen (2016) A study on the fire propagation
characteristics in large-opening multi-level limestone mines in Korea, Geosystem Engineering,
19:6, 317-336, DOI: 10.1080/12269328.2016.1249804

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12269328.2016.1249804

Published online: 08 Nov 2016.

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Download by: [Dong-A University], [Mr Nguyen Van Duc] Date: 08 November 2016, At: 16:13
Geosystem Engineering, 2016
VOL. 19, NO. 6, 317–336
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12269328.2016.1249804

A study on the fire propagation characteristics in large-opening multi-level


limestone mines in Korea
Changwoo Lee and Vanduc Nguyen
Energy and Mineral Resources Engineering Department, Dong-A University, Busan, Korea

ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY


Recently, deployment of large-capacity diesel haulage trucks is rapidly increasing in the domestic Received 27 September 2016
large-opening limestone mines due to the high level of operational flexibility. However, in multi- Accepted 14 October 2016
level mines, this trend has raised the serious concern for the risk of diesel vehicle fire. Fire in a deep KEYWORDS
multi-level mine site is harder to control and likely to develop into disastrous results. Developing the Limestone mine; truck
emergency evacuation strategies and controlling the fire should presuppose a knowledge of the fire; CFD analysis; fire
fire behavior in mines. This paper aims at studying the behavior of a 25-ton diesel truck fire showing propagation; evacuation; fire
approximately the maximum heat release rate of 30 MW by computational fluid dynamic analysis. control
Spatial and temporal distributions of the hot air stream, smoke layer, and CO gas layer in multi-level
mine sites are evaluated, and the effects of fan operation are scrutinized to find the appropriate
fan location and operating mode. In addition, several other aspects of the fire development such
as backlayering and throttling effects are also studied. The ultimate goal is to provide fundamental
information about fire propagating characteristics in multi-level large-opening underground
limestone mines for developing the mine fire evacuation plan and protect the workers’ safety.

1. Introduction underground, concerns are raised about diesel-engine fire


The annual limestone output in Korea is over 90 million risk at working sites. Fires on diesel-powered equipment
tons and the total number of mines in operation includ- typically arise from leaking high-pressure hydraulic lines
ing small-scale ones employing less than 10 employees is which can spray a heated mist of highly combustible liquid
more than 100. However, open-pit mines producing most onto an ignition source, such as a hot exhaust manifold or
of the low-grade ore are obliged to go underground due turbocharger (Bickel, 1987).
to the depletion of easily accessible reserves and the strict This paper studies the variety of situations created by a
environmental regulations. Multi-level room-and-pillar heavy 25-ton truck fire of approximately 30 MW, at work-
mining method with large openings is applied in most ing sites in the room-and-pillar mining section and on the
of the local underground limestone mines with steeply rampway by computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analy-
dipping and faulted ore bodies. The most common entry sis. Since the ultimate goal of this study is to provide the
dimension is 6–9  m high and 10–15  m wide with 10 fundamental knowledge for developing fire safety strat-
m  ×  10  m pillars, while 7–12% inclined rampways are egy in multi-level large-opening underground limestone
driven to connect levels with a vertical distance difference mines in Korea, the hazardous components of mine fire
of approximately 20  m. The number of entries in each threatening workers lives and mine facility safety such
level depends on the width of ore body; 2–5 entries are as temperature, smoke concentration directly associated
commonly developed. with visibility, and toxic CO gas concentration, and their
Various types of diesel-powered equipment are spatial and temporal distributions are evaluated. To obtain
deployed for underground operations such as drilling, the appropriate fan location and operation mode, effects
explosive charging, loading, hauling, scaling, and rock of the fan operation are studied along with several other
bolting. With the increasing number of diesel units aspects such as backlayering and throttling effects.

CONTACT  Changwoo Lee  cwlee@dau.ac.kr


© 2016 The Korean Society of Mineral and Energy Resources Engineers (KSMER)
318   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

2.  Characteristics of the fire source and


definition of the safe evacuation environment
The most popular haulage truck in domestic underground
mines is a 25-ton truck with the power of 320–390 KW.
Incidents such as truck roll over on the rampway, roof fall,
or oil spill can result in mine fires where a truck can be
completely destroyed. Once initiated, the fire goes through
three different stages: growth stage, peak intensity stages,
and decay stage. Fire size is of vital importance for under-
standing the behavior of mine fires. Even though there
have been extensive fire tests carried out in vehicle tun-
nels to evaluate fire load for ventilation and safety design,
studies on full-scale fire test of the mining vehicles can
hardly be found. The most recent test results can be found Figure 1. Fire growth curve for a 25-ton truck (Lee and Kim, 2015).
in full-scale fire experiments with mining vehicles in an
underground mine (Hansen & Ingason, 2013 Ingason, Li,
Table 1. Fire source characteristics.
& Lönnermark, 2015). They showed that the maximum
heat release rate of the wheel loader and the drilling rig Category Characteristics
and were found to be 15.9 and 29.4  MW, respectively. Fire size 30 MW
Fire source dimension 2.5 m(w) × 8.7 m(L) × 3.5 m(H)
Other sources about the fire load in underground mine Stoichiometric ratio 14.5
are NFPA 120, 130, 502 and 122 (NFPA, 2004, 2007, 2008, Heating value 4.26 E + 07 J/kg
Fuel consumption rate .704 kg/s
2015). Unfortunately, 25-ton truck fire load is not defined Radiation loss fraction 30%
in any of the NFPA standards for fire prevention and con-
trol in mines.
Guidelines for the fire growth and size within the temperature less than 60 °C, visibility higher than 10 m
enclosure of fire origin can be found in British standard and CO level less than 50 ppm. The terms, ‘hot air stream,’,
PD 7974–1 (BS-PD, 2003). According to PD 7974–1, the ‘smoke layer,’ and ‘CO gas layer’ in this paper are defined as
25-ton heavy truck shows the peak fire size of 30 MW and the hot air layer with temperature above 60 °C, the dense
the characteristic fire growth time to the peak fire size smoke layer with visibility less than 10  m and the CO
is 600 s. Based on the aforementioned information, the layer with concentration higher than 50 ppm, respectively.
maximum heat release rate of a 25-ton truck fire and time
to reach the peak in this study are assumed to be 30 MW
3.  Fire in horizontal levels
at 600 s, slightly bigger than the drilling rig fire size. Fire
size is considered to grow linearly over time up to 600 s To investigate the propagation characteristics of a fire in
as plotted in Figure 1. Table 1 shows the 25-ton truck horizontal large-opening entries as illustrated in Figure 2,
fire source characteristics for the study. The radiation loss two scenarios are proposed for CFD analysis. Two differ-
to the surroundings other than the air is assumed to be ent CFD models, Solvent by the Innovative Research and
30% according to Memorial tunnel test report (Parsons Parson Brinckerhoff and Fluent (ANSYS, Inc., 2015) are
Brinckerhoff, 1996). utilized. Table 2 shows that Scenario I assumes a situation
For safe evacuation, the escape route environment where a truck fire is initiated at a closed end in room-and-
should be maintained within the acceptable levels in terms pillar mining section with three 10 m (wide) × 8 m (high)
of temperature, visibility, and concentration of toxic gases. entries in parallel. An auxiliary fan in Table 3 is mobi-
According to the NFPA 130 (NFPA, 2015), thermal burns lized for fire control and its effects on fire development
to the respiratory tract can occur upon inhalation of air are analyzed. Scenario II is the case for only one entry
above 60 °C. NFPA 130 also recommends the visibility dis- with both ends open. The effects of the initial air velocity
tance to unlighted objects to be maintained within 10m. of 0, .5, and 1.0 m/s on the fire development are evaluated.
Based on the recommendation of Occupational Safety and The backlayering and throttling effects are also studied in
Health Administration for CO, the most common toxic Scenario II. Backlayering, meaning fire-generated smoke
gas generated from the fire, 50 ppm is the maximum per- rollback against the air flow, may endanger the workers
missible level in working place (CO Knowledge Center, and facilities located upstream the fire location. Throttling
2016). These indicate that safe environment for evacu- effect, also called choking effect enhancing the volumetric
ees in underground mine airways should be defined as air flow rate toward the fire site, may increase the risk of
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   319

(a) (b)

Figure 2. Mine sites for CFD analysis. (a) Site layout with three entries for Scenario I, (b) Site layout with a single entry for Scenario II.

Table 2. Description of Scenario I and II. Table 3. Fan characteristics.


Scenario Case Entry description Descriptions Category Characteristics
I 1 Three entries in Without fan operation Fan type Axial-flow fan
2 parallel (10 m Blowing fan at 150 m Fan dimension L:3 m Ф:1 m
(wide) × 8 m(high)) from fire Fan thrust 250 N
3 Exhausting fan at 150 m Fan operation Blowing and exhaust modes
from fire Fan installation height 1.5 m (fan center point location)
4 Blowing fan at 100 m
from fire
5 Exhausting fan at 100 m
from fire I. The dense smoke layer is spreading faster than the hot
6 Blowing fan at 50 from fire air stream; the dense smoke in the first entry propagates
7 Exhausting fan at 50 from
fire at .80 m/s after 100 s, and its speed reduces gradually to
II 1 Single entry (10 m Single entry with initial .48 m/s at 600 s. Also, it approaches the floor after being
(wide) × 8 m(high)) velocity of 0 m/s
2 Single entry with initial cooled down from approximately 200  m downstream
velocity of .5 m/s from the fire location. In the meantime, the hot air stream
3 Single entry with initial
velocity of 1.0 m/s continues to flow near the ceiling with the speed of .10–
.35 m/s. Therefore, poor visibility due to the wide spread
smoke layer is more critical for evacuation decision-mak-
fire growth. The horizontal entries in all cases are 300-m ing. However, the distribution profiles show that the dense
long, and ventilation resistance is assumed to be .016 kg/ smoke as well as hot air layers, are well maintained near
m3 which is the typical value measured in domestic lime- the ceiling without any disturbance such as fan operation.
stone underground mines. Therefore, in most of the cases, sufficient space can be
secured for safe evacuation underneath the layers. The
term ‘safe height’ is defined in this paper as the safe height
3.1.  Natural propagation
underneath the layer where a 1.8-m-tall worker can walk
Figure 3 illustrates the longitudinal view of the hot air without any difficulty. The safe height is measured at the
stream and dense smoke layer distributions at 600 s after lowest location of the layers downstream from the fire. The
the fire. Figure 4 shows the natural propagation speed safe height in Figure 3 is 4.4–4.6 m for the hot air stream
of the layers in the three entries for Case 1 of Scenario and 2.0–2.6 m for the smoke layer.

(a) (b)

Figure 3. Longitudinal view of hot air stream and smoke layer profiles at 600 s. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) Smoke layer (visibility <10 m).
320   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

(a) (b)

Figure 4. Natural propagation speed of hot air stream and smoke layer. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) Smoke layer (visibility <10 m).

(a)

(b)
Figure 5. Plan view of the naturally spreading hot air stream and smoke layer at 600 s. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) Smoke layer
(visibility <10 m).

Figure 5 illustrates the plan view of the hot air stream 3.2.  Backlayering and throttling effects
and dense smoke layer at 1.8, 4.0, and 6.0 m height after
A hot smoke plume rises above the fire zone hits the ceiling
200, 400, and 600 s, respectively. Since the layers can be
and spreads out in both directions if there is a little flow of
observed in the very limited zone near the fire at 1.8 m
the air. If the ventilation is inadequate, the hot smoke layer
height, workers can move safely underneath the hot air
is likely to flow against the ventilation direction due to the
and smoke layers within 600 s after the fire. At the height
buoyancy force. This phenomenon is called ‘backlayering’
of 4.0 and 6.0  m, the hot air stream in the first entry
and its occurrence can be governed by several factors such
spreads 30 and 215 m downstream from the fire, respec-
as fire heat release rate, airway dimension, and air velocity
tively, while the dense smoke layer covers the entire length
approaching the fire. Three cases with a single large-open-
of the entries. It should be kept in mind that this result is
ing entry with the inlet velocity of 0, .5, and 1.0 m/s are
valid only when the naturally spreading layers are not be
set up to investigate the possibility of fire backlayering in
disturbed by any means.
Scenario II. Figure 6 shows the velocity profiles by height
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   321

(a) (b)

Figure 6. Velocity profiles at 20 m downstream and upstream from the fire. (a) At 20 m downstream from fire, (b) At 20 m upstream from
fire.

at 20 m downstream and upstream from the fire location. fire ignition. The maximum thickness of hot air layer is
The figure shows that near the ceiling, the layers are rolling observed to be 4.5 m at 600 s, while the dense smoke is dis-
back against the air flow. Higher the ventilation velocity is, tributed over the entire entry on both sides. The backlay-
less the backlayering distance is observed. This phenom- ering distance is clearly reduced by increasing the velocity;
enon, backlayering, should be taken into consideration with .5 m/s, the rollback distance is reduced to 11, 165,
for developing the fire control and safety measures since and 261 m at 200, 400, and 600 s, respectively, as in Figure
safety in upstream may be endangered. 7(b). Dense smoke spreads against the airflow at a speed
For the case of 0 m/s in Figure 7(a), the rollback dis- of .58–.92, .50–.85, and .40–.72 m/s near the ceiling under
tance of hot air stream is considerable and reaches 24, 196, the inlet initial ventilation velocity of .0, .5, and 1.0 m/s,
and 306 m at 200, 400, and 600 s, respectively, after the respectively. Consequently, in a single large-opening entry,

(a) (b)
Figure 7. Longitudinal view of the backlayering of hot air stream and dense smoke layer in Scenario II. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b)
Smoke layer (visibility <10 m).
322   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

the critical velocity required to completely prevent back- Thus, as the fire causes the density of air to decrease, the
layering seems to be approximately 1.0  m/s. Supplying mass flow of air will also decrease for the same energy
the ventilation velocity of 1.0 m/s requires the ventilation dissipation. However, the volume flows exiting the airway
rate of 80 m3/s, which is practically difficult with the exist- increases. Figure 8 shows the temporal variation of air
ing ventilation system at domestic multi-level limestone velocity and air density near the fire location. It can be
mines. Therefore, the phenomenon of backlayering may seen that the air velocity measured near the fire location
be unavoidable during the growth of the fire. increases gradually by 1.9 times from .85 m/s at 100 s to
It is known that evacuees walk at a speed of .5–1.0 m/s 1.59 m/s at 600 s, while the density decreases from 1.15
in tunnels with smoke and no lighting, while the walking to .64 kg/m3. The throttling effect observed in Scenario
speed is 1.0–1.45 m/s with smoke and emergency lighting II implies that firefighting in the early stage of the fire
(Frantzich, 2000). Therefore, even though no study can development should be concentrated on the measures to
be found on the evacuation speed in mines during the reduce the flow rate of the air to the fire source to prevent
fire evacuation, the walking speed of .8 m/s seems to be an uncontrollable growth of the fire.
reasonable for the mine workers who are familiar with
the mine site. Since the propagation speeds of the hot air
3.3.  Effects of fan operation
stream and the smoke layer are in the range of .12–.51 and
.40–.92 m/s, workers can walk faster than the expanding To evaluate the effects of fan operation on the fire behavior
hot smoke layers and may escape from the fire. However, in the room-and-pillar mining site with multiple entries,
on the contrary to the case of hot air stream showing the six cases of Scenario I are simulated as described in Table
safe height of 3.3–3.8 m, the smoke layer is cooled down 3. A 250 N fan is installed at three locations, 50, 100, and
and reduced the safe height below 1.8 m in the upstream 150 m from the fire in the first entry and is operated in
of the fire at 200 and 225 s after the fire with the ventila- either the blowing or exhaust mode. Figure 9 shows the
tion velocity of 0 and .5 m/s. These times can be treated as velocity profiles at the downstream locations of 20, 100,
the latest possible time for safe evacuation. Nevertheless, and 200 m by height at 600 s. Since the fan is installed on
this is the case only with the temperature and visibility the floor, the lower half of the entry shows positive velocity
criteria. With 1.0  m/s, backlayering disappears and the toward the fire, while the backlayering phenomenon with
entire length of the upstream side can be used as a safe negative velocity is observed in the upper half. Due to the
evacuation route. The effects of one of the most toxic fire fire location at the dead end, backlayering near the ceiling
gases, CO, are studied in the subsequent section. is observed regardless the fan operation and operational
An open fire causes a sharp increase in the temperature mode. However, the rollback velocity in the first entry
of the air. Due to the air passing through the vicinity of the is relatively lower with the fan operation in the blowing
fire zone is heated, its volume expands, and downstream mode compared with the exhaust mode. When the fan
air velocity increases. This phenomenon is called a throt- is installed at 50 m, the maximum backlayering velocity
tling or choking effect. Mass flow rate is proportional to measured at 100 m downstream from the fire is reduced
2/3 square of air density; volumetric flow rate, on the other to 1.0 from 2.3 m/s observed in the case without the fan
hand, is inversely proportional to 1/3 square of air density. operation. This blowing fan effect is also observed with

(a) (b)

Figure 8. Variation of the air velocity and density near the fire site in Scenario II. (a) Velocity, (b) Density.
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   323

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 9. Velocity profiles downstream from the fire location. Notes: (a) At 20 m downstream, (b) At 100 m downstream, and (c) At 200 m
downstream.

(a) (b)
Figure 10. Longitudinal view of the backlayering at 600 s in Scenario I. (a) Layer moving faster than 1.0 m/s, (b) Hot air stream (>60 °C).

the fan installed at 150 m; backlayering velocity at 200 m due to the buoyancy force and any factor to disturb the
is dropped from 1.8 to .7 m/s. The effects of blowing fan stabilized layer may lead to the risk due to the occupa-
location on the backlayering in the upper half of entry are tion of most of the cross-section filled with the hazard-
minimal at 20 m downstream, while fan location at 100 m ous components. Therefore, maintaining the upper layer
shows the best results for backlayering control at 100 m stabilization is critical in the process of fire control for
downstream and installing a fan at 150 m gives the best safe evacuation. In Figure 10(b), the hot air stream layer
effects at 200 m downstream. The results show backlayer- is found to be seriously disturbed when an exhaust fan is
ing control effects can be achieved most by installing a fan turned on, and the same results are shown also with the
near the location where the control is required. distorted smoke layers in Figure 13(a).
Figure 10 illustrates the backlayering profiles; Figure The effects of fan operation on the hot air stream prop-
10(a) shows the layer moving faster than 1.0 m/s near the agation are further studied by analyzing the spreading
ceiling and profiles in Figure 10(b) are the hot air stream velocity. Figure 11 shows the temporal variation of the
rollback. As described in Figure 9, Cases 2, 4, and 6 with hot air stream propagation velocity in all three entries.
blowing fan result in better backlayering control. Even It can be seen that in the first entry where the fire source
though Case 4 where the fan location is 150 m leads to the is located, the hot air stream in case of a blowing fan is
minimum length of the fast-moving layer, there is no sig- flowing at .19–.20 m/s compared with .37–.38 m/s with
nificant difference among the different blowing fan loca- an exhaust fan. Higher efficiency of controlling the hot
tions in terms of the hot air stream. Another noticeable air stream with blowing fan mode is well summarized in
observation is the disturbance of the upper layer; the hot Figure 11(a). The hot air stream enters the second and
air stream and smoke layers spread out near the ceiling third entries after a lapse of 200 s after the fire breakout
324   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 11. Propagation speed of the hot air stream in Scenario I. (a) In the 1st entry, (b) In the 2nd entry, and (c) In the 3rd entry.

in all cases regardless of the fan operational modes. This Figure 13 shows longitudinal view of the dense smoke
implies that within the first 200 s after the fire workers layer at 600 s in Scenario I. As described in Figure 10(a),
and mining facilities in the second and third entries can the airflow pattern in the first entry is considerably affected
remain safe below 60 °C. In the meantime, its propaga- by fan operation and the results are summarized in Figure
tion velocity increases gradually in the second and third 13. The extent of disturbance is greater for the exhaust
entries; .20–.24  m/s with blowing fan mode and .25– fan mode and also for the fan location further away from
.27 m/s with exhaust mode. The exhaust fan mode leads the fan. To secure the space for evacuation, temperature
to the faster spread of the hot air stream, but the difference and visibility should be less than 60 °C and longer than
is not considerable. 10 m, respectively, as aforementioned. Disturbance of the
According to the results in Figures 9 and 11, blowing layers near the ceiling leads to lowering the safe height
fan mode seems to give better control of the backlayer- in all three entries as shown in Figure 13. The safe height
ing in all three entries. However, differences among three in term of the hot air stream and smoke layer at 600 s is
blowing alternatives are not significant at 600 s in terms summarized in Table 4. Due to the serious disturbance
of the hot air stream distribution as plotted also in Figure by fan operation, the first entry is not safe for evacuation
10. All three cases with blowing mode show well-main- due to poor visibility. However, without fan operation,
tained upper layer of the fast-moving hot air stream, while the naturally spreading smoke layer is well maintained
the exhaust fan operation disturbs the fast-moving layer. near the ceiling, and sufficient safe height higher than
Disturbance by operating a fan in the exhaust mode is 2.0 m is observed. Regardless the location, operating a
well illustrated in Figure 10(a) and also in Figure 13(a). fan in exhaust mode leads to the safe height less than
Figure 12 shows almost same effects of fan operation 2.0 m in all three entries, while the cases with blowing
on the propagation speed of dense smoke layer. It can be mode show that at least one entry can be used as escape
seen that operating a fan in blowing mode shows better route as in Table 4.
smoke backlayering control and fan installing closer to Figure 14 show the plan view of the hot air stream and
the fire location leads to even better control efficiency at dense smoke layers at 1.8 m after 600 s. Even though the
the early stage, but differences among the blowing mode hot air stream layer does not affect the evacuation with
cases at different installation locations become insignifi- the safe height of 3.90–4.64 m in all cases, distribution of
cant at 600 s; backlayering speed of .48 m/s for 100- and the dense smoke layer should be paid attention for evac-
150-m-blowing fan cases and .43 m/s for 50-m-blowing uees. The safe height in term of visibility is higher than
fan at 600 s in the first entry. 2  m in the first entry and is reduced to 1.29–2.66 and

(a) (c)
(b)

Figure 12. Propagation speed of the dense smoke layer in Scenario I. (a) In 1st entry, (b) In 2nd entry, and (c) In 3rd entry.
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   325

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 13. Longitudinal view of the smoke layer at 600 s in Scenario I. (a) In 1st entry, (b) In 2nd entry, and (c) In 3rd entry.

Table 4. Safe height at 600 s in Scenario I.


Safe height in terms of temperature (m) Safe height in terms of visibility (m)
Scenarios I 1st entry 2nd entry 3rd entry 1st entry 2nd entry 3rd entry
Case 1 4.00 4.39 4.25 2.00 2.20 2.60
Case 2 3.90 4.32 4.31 .00 1.44 2.50
Case 3 4.20 4.43 4.46 .00 1.56 1.29
Case 4 3.70 4.21 4.30 .00 2.33 2.75
Case 5 4.16 4.46 4.64 .00 1.52 1.72
Case 6 3.70 4.30 4.28 .00 2.66 2.93
Case 7 4.20 4.05 3.94 .00 1.29 2.05

(a) (b)

Figure 14. Plan view of the hot air stream and smoke layers at the height of 1.8 m in Scenario I. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) Smoke
layer (visibility <10 m).
326   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

1.29–2.93 m, respectively, in the second and third entries.


These results indicate that the natural spread of the dense
smoke layer should not be disturbed.

3.4.  CO dispersion
Figure 15 shows the natural propagation speed of the
dense CO gas layer over 50 ppm in Case 1 of Scenario I.
Just like the hot air stream and smoke layers, the propaga-
tion speed of CO gas layer in the first entry is higher than
in the second and third entries. The propagation speed of
CO decreases gradually from 1.03 m/s at 100 s to .58 m/s at
500 s. In the second entry, the CO gas layer propagates at
.5–.54 m/s, while the spreading speed in the third entry is
Figure 15.  Natural propagation speed of the CO gas layer
slightly slower. Figure 16 describes the CO concentration (>50 ppm).
at 1.8 m height by the downstream location of 20, 100, 200,
and 250 m. It can be seen that in the first entry the CO gas
layer reaches over 50 ppm within 50–400 s at 20–250 m the fire. The natural propagation speed of CO gas layer
downstream from the fire location. Similarly, this figure is higher than the hot air stream, but it is similar to the
is slightly lower at second and third entry. After 75–425 s, smoke layer speed at 600 s.
the CO gas layer over 50 ppm expands to 20–250 m down- One of the most distinct differences between the CO
stream from the fire source at second and third entry. gas layer and the hot air stream as well as the smoke layer
Since after 500  s, the CO gas layer occupies the entire is the shape of the layer front end. As shown in Figure 18,
length of mine site as in Figure 17 and safe height is much the front end of the layers other than CO gas are spread-
less than 2 m, evacuees must move out within 8 min after ing near the ceiling until the layers are cooled down and

(a) (c)
(b)

Figure 16. Temporal variation of the CO gas layer (>50 ppm) at 1.8 m height. (a) In 1st entry, (b) In 2nd entry, and (c) In 3rd entry.

(a) (b)

Figure 17. View of the naturally spreading CO gas layer (>50 ppm). (a) Plan view at 1.8 m height, (b) 3D view (at 300 s).
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   327

(a)

(b)

Figure 18. Shape of the front end of the hot air stream and CO gas layer in horizontal and inclined airway. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b)
CO gas layer (>50 ppm).

(a) (b)

Figure 19. Study sites with a rampway. (a) Curved rampway for Scenario III and IV, (b) Straight rampway for Scenario V and VI.

start to descend, but the CO gas layer above 50 ppm tends rates depending on the fire location and the character-
to occupy most portion of the cross-section due to its istics of fire products. This process is well illustrated in
density, 1.14 kg/m3, similar to the air and also turbulent Figure 19 with a fire at the rampway midpoint. Since the
mixing mechanism. This characteristic of the CO layer fire behavior in horizontal entries has been analyzed, a
observed in the horizontal entry as well as the rampway fire in the rampway is simulated in Scenarios III, IV, V,
makes it difficult to evacuate underneath the CO layer, and VI described in Table 5. A typical rampway of 8.0-m
while the layers of the hot air stream and dense smoke wide and 6.0-m high with a grade of 7–12% is designed
flow as stabilized layers unless they are disturbed by fan to connect two levels with the vertical distance of 20 m.
operation or any other activities. While a curved rampway is assumed for Scenarios III and
IV, a straight one is chosen for Scenarios V and VI. Based
on the rampway grade in most of the domestic limestone
4.  Fires in the rampway
mines, the grades of 7, 10, and 12% are simulated with
Once a fire breaks out in a rampway in multi-level under- a fire at the bottom and midpoint of the rampway. The
ground mine as in Figure 19, then the fire may propagate entry length in both levels is 310 m, and the rampway is
upward and also downward through the rampway and assumed to be 166–285-m long depending on the grade
subsequently reaches the upper lower levels at different and shape of rampway.
328   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

Table 5. Scenarios III, IV, V and VI for the cases with rampway. Table 6.  Arrival time of the hot air stream and CO gas layer by
height at the top and bottom ends of rampway in Case 1 of Sce-
Rampway
Scenario Case description Fire location Grade (%) nario III, IV, V and VI.
III 1 Curved rampway At the middle 12 CO gas layer
2 (8 m(W) × 6 m(H)) At the bottom 12 Hot air stream (>60 °C) (>50 ppm)
IV 1 Curved rampway At the middle 10
2 (8 m(W) × 6 m(H)) At the bottom 10 Scenar- Bottom Top Bottom
V 1 Straight rampway At the middle 10 io Height (m) Top end end end end
2 (8 m(W) × 6 m(H)) At the bottom 10 III 1.8 Not shown Not shown 75 s 325 s
VI 1 Straight rampway At the middle 7 4.0 255 s 75 s 300 s
2 (8 m(W) × 6 m(H)) At the bottom 7 6.0 150 s 75 s 300 s
IV 1.8 Not shown 100 s 300 s
4.0 250 s 75 s 275 s
6.0 175 s 75 s 250 s
4.1.  Propagation of fire at the rampway midpoint V 1.8 Not shown 125 s 400 s
4.0 350 s 125 s 375 s
Figure 20 shows the temporal variation of the temper- 6.0 200 s 100 s 375 s
VI 1.8 Not shown 175 s 500 s
ature and CO concentration by height at both ends of 4.0 Not shown 175 s 500 s
the 12% inclined curved rampway. Figure 20(a) indicates 6.0 400 s 175 s 500 s
that the air temperature at the rampway bottom is slowly
increasing and is kept well below 60  °C even at 600  s.
However, the temperature at the top end of the upper at the top. Even though the low temperature in the lower
level rises rapidly and reaches almost 60 °C at 600 s at level may cause evacuees think the lower level as a safe
the height of 1.8 m, while at 6-m high it is much higher, place, rapid appearance and dispersion of the high CO
approximately 257 °C. This observation implies that with gas layer in the lower level make it impossible to stay.
a fire at the middle of rampway, the lower level can be a Figure 21 shows the natural propagation of the hot air
safe evacuation place for the time being in terms of tem- stream and CO gas layer in Case 1 of Scenario III with the
perature. However, CO gas propagation is extremely dif- assumed initial ventilation velocity at the upper level of
ferent due to the turbulent diffusion mechanism. Figure 0 m/s. As plotted in Figure 18, the hot air stream is well
20(b) shows the CO gas layer over 50 ppm reaches the maintained close to the rampway ceiling, and the CO gas
upper level within 50 s, and the concentration increases layer occupies the entire cross-sectional area of rampway
very steeply, while it appears at the rampway bottom in as well as the airway. It can be seen clearly that in Figure
225 s and its concentration also grows fast. Similar results 21, the hot air stream layer distribute the half-length of
can be observed in the rampway in the cases with dif- the upper level. On the contrary, at 600 s the CO gas layer
ferent shape and grades. Table 6 summarizes the time not only occupies the entire of the airway at rampway and
required for arrival of the hot air stream and CO gas upper level, but it expands to the lower level as shown in
layers at both ends of the rampway in Case 1 of Scenarios Figure 21(b).
III–VI. The hot air stream does not appear at the bot- Figure 22 shows the upward and downward propaga-
tom end within 600 s in all cases, while the CO gas layer tion speeds in Case 1 of Scenario III. The buoyancy force
appears in 250–500 s at the bottom end and in 75–175 s makes faster spread of the fire in the upward direction.

(a) (b)

Figure 20.  Temporal variation of the temperature and CO concentration by height in Case 1 of Scenario III. (a) Temperature, (b) CO
concentration.
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   329

(a) (b)

Figure 21. Propagation of the hot air stream and CO gas layer with time in Case 1 of Scenario III. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) CO gas
layer (>50 ppm).

With the ventilation velocity of 0 m/s in the upper level, half of the rampway and then the upper level seems to be
the upward propagation speed of the hot air stream at possible. The backlayering in the upper level can be lim-
100  s is .74  m/s, and then the propagation is gradually ited by enhancing the air velocity; the backlayering veloc-
slowed down to .35 m/s at 600 s. Since the minimum safe ities are reduced to .35, .31, and .25 m/s with the upper
height in the 8-m-high upper level in terms of temperature level velocity of 0, .5, and 1.0 m/s, respectively. As shown
is 2.5 m, safe evacuation within 600 s through the upper Figure 22, the downward speed of the hot air stream is
330   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

(a) (b)

Figure 22. Upward and downward propagation speed of the hot airstream and CO gas layer in case 1 of Scenario III. (a) Hot air stream
(>60 °C), (b) CO gas layer (>50 ppm).

Table 7. Propagation speed of the hot air stream and CO gas layer at 600 s in Case 1 of Scenario III, IV, V and VI.
Propagation speed of the hot air stream (m/s) Propagation speed of the CO gas layer (m/s)
Scenario Velocity in upper level (m/s) Downward Upward Downward Upward
III .0 .13 .35 .27 .50
1.0 .13 .25 .23 .26
IV .0 .17 .36 .30 .60
1.0 .17 .28 .30 .28
V .0 .16 .33 .25 .58
1.0 .16 .26 .26 .27
VI .0 .22 .24 .30 .44
1.0 .22 .24 .29 .27

much lower, ranging from .13 to .22  m/s; it decreases Figure 23 illustrates the hot air stream and CO gas layer
gradually up to 300 s and then remains almost constant. distributions in Case 1 of Scenarios III, IV, V, and VI. As
Even at 600 s after the fire, the layers do not reach the low described previously, it shows that the lower level is not
level as in Table 6. This means that at the early stage of fire affected by the hot air stream at 600 s, but the CO gas is
development, the lower level can be a temporary shelter diffused even in the lower level. In the rampway grade
from the hot temperature and also from the poor visibility. of 10–12%, after 3 min, the hot air stream occupies the
Figure 22(b) illustrates the spreading CO gas layer. The whole rampway and starts to expand to the upper level at
CO gas layer expands in the upward direction at the speed the average speed of .4 m/s. The extent of CO gas layer
of 1.20–1.65 m/s in the rampway and .66–.95 m/s in the observed on the lower level is limited to the area near
upper level. Meanwhile, the downward speed of CO is the rampway bottom at 600 s. This implies that workers
limited to .53  m/s in the rampway and .26–.37  m/s in trapped in the lower level should remain there, preferably
the low level. On the contrary to the hot air stream and in the area away from the rampway bottom instead of
dense smoke layers, CO gas is spreading faster even in trying to escape through the rampway filled with the hot
the downward direction and is likely to occupy the whole air and CO gas layers.
cross section of the rampway and horizontal entries. This Figure 24 shows the plan view of the hot air layer in the
implies that CO gas concentration must be taken carefully upper level by height in Scenarios III and V. The air in the
during the evacuation and rescue works. upper level is assumed to be stagnant. As discussed above,
Table 7 summarizes the propagation speed of hot air- the hot layer does not appear in the lower level even in
stream and CO gas layer at 600 s for Case 1 of Scenarios III, 600 s. It shows that at 2.0 m height in the upper level safety
IV, V, and VI. As expected, increasing the ventilation velocity is not affected by the hot layer in all cases. In contrast,
in the upper level shows lower upward propagation of the the CO gas layer should be paid a considerable attention.
hot air as well CO gas layers. For the 12% inclined curved Figure 25 shows the plan view of the CO gas layer in both
rampway, the propagation speed of CO gas layer is reduced levels after 600 s. In the case of stagnant air flow in the
from .50 to .26 m/s when the upper level ventilation velocity upper level, CO gas layer spreads through the entire length
increases from 0 to 1.0 m/s. of the upper level, while increasing the ventilation velocity
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   331

(a) (b)

Figure 23. Hot air stream and CO gas layer at 600 s in Case 1 of Scenario III, IV, V and VI. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) CO gas layer
(>50 ppm).

(a) (b)

Figure 24. Plan view of the hot air stream (>60 °C) in the upper level at 600 s in Case 1 of Scenario III and V. (a) Scenario III, (b) Scenario V.

to 1.0 m/s effectively controls the backlayering of CO gas the hot air stream layer is well maintained in the lower
layer in the upper level. However, change in the upper level level, the temperature at 1.8-m height never reaches 60 °C
ventilation velocity does not affect the CO gas propagation within 600 s, but CO concentration at the same height goes
in the lower level. above 50 ppm at 25 s. Assuming the initial temperature of
15 °C, the temperature rises to 37 °C at 1.8-m height of the
top end after 600 s. However, the time required to reach
4.2.  Propagation of fire at the rampway bottom
60 °C at 4.0 and 6.0 m height is 375 and 250 s, respectively.
Figure 26 shows temperature and CO concentration at The CO gas layer starts to appear at the upper level in 100 s
both ends of the rampway with a fire at the bottom. Since after the fire ignition. The CO concentrations in both ends
332   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

(a) (b)

Figure 25. Plan view of CO gas layer in the upper and low levels at 600 s in Case 1 Scenario III, V. (a) Upper level, (b) Lower level.

(a) (b)

Figure 26. Temperature and CO concentration at the rampway top and bottom ends in Case 2 of Scenario III. (a) Temperature, (b) CO
concentration.

are extremely higher than the maximum permissible level Table 8. Arrival time of the hot air stream and CO gas layer at both
of CO gas, 50 ppm. Therefore, in the case of a fire at the ends of the rampway in Case 2 of Scenario III, IV, V and VI.
bottom of rampway, the attention should be paid not just CO gas
to the temperature but also to the CO gas layer at both Hot air stream (>60 °C) layer(>50 ppm)
ends of the rampway. Height Top end Bottom end Top Bottom
Scenario (m) end end
Table 8 summarizes the arrival time of the hot air
III 1.8 Not shown Not shown 100 s 25 s
stream and CO gas layers at both ends of the rampway in 4.0 375 s 100 s 100 s 25 s
Case 2 of Scenarios III–VI. The CO gas layer arrives at the 6.0 250 s 150 s 125 s 25 s
IV 1.8 Not shown Not shown 175 s 25 s
top end in about 100–325 s depending on the rampway 4.0 450 s 100 s 175 s 25 s
type and grade. However, at the height of 1.8 m at both 6.0 325 s 200 s 175 s 25 s
V 1.8 Not shown Not shown 175 s 25 s
ends the hot air stream cannot be observed in all cases. 4.0 450 s 100 s 175 s 25 s
This result implies that temperature is not the critical var- 6.0 350 s 125 s 175 s 25 s
iable for evacuation in the upper and lower levels. 1.8 Not shown Not shown 325 s 25 s
4.0 Not shown 350 s 325 s 25 s
Figure 27 illustrates the upward and downward speeds VI 6.0 575 s 125 s 325 s 25 s
of hot air stream and CO gas layer under different ventila-
tion velocities in the upper level. As shown Figure 27(a), the
upward propagation speed of the hot air stream increases since the hot air stream reaches the upper level. The prop-
dramatically in the rampway from .5 to .9 m/s in 200 s. agation speed in the lower level slowly increases from .1
Thereafter, it decreases gradually down to .38–.48  m/s to .18 m/s. The upward dispersing velocity of the CO gas
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   333

(a) (b)

Figure 27. Upward and low level propagation speeds of the hot air stream and CO gas layer in Case 2 of Scenario III. (a) Hot air stream
(>60 °C), (b) CO gas layer (>50 ppm).

Table 9. Propagation speed of the hot air stream and CO gas layer at 600 s in Case 2 of Scenario III, IV, V and VI.
Propagation speed of hot airstream (m/s) Propagation speed of CO (m/s)
Scenario Velocity in upper level (m/s) Speed in lower level Upward speed Speed in lower level Upward speed
III .00 .18 .48 .38 .65
1.00 .18 .38 .38 .40
IV .00 .20 .48 .42 .68
1.00 .20 .46 .42 .47
V .00 .23 .46 .43 .63
1.00 .23 .45 .43 .45
VI .00 .25 .46 .50 .54
1.00 .25 .46 .50 .50

(a) (b)

Figure 28. Hot air stream and CO gas layer at 600 s in Case 2 of Scenario III, IV, V, and VI. (a) Hot air stream (>60 °C), (b) CO gas layer
(>50 ppm).
334   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

layer within the rampway is gradually decreasing from 1.50 Figure 29 shows the plan view of the hot air stream at
to .65 m/s without air flow in the upper level. Even with the height of 2.0, 4.0, and 6.0 m in Case 2 of Scenarios III
higher ventilation velocities, .5 and 1.0 m/s, in the upper and V. It can be seen that the upper and lower levels are
level, it remains above 1.50 m/s in the rampway and then safe for evacuation in terms of hot temperature. However,
decreases a little bit to .40–.48 m/s at 500 s as shown in this observation is completely overturned by the CO gas
Figure 27(b). As in the previous case, the upward velocity layer as in Figure 30. The figure shows the CO gas layer
is reduced by increasing the upper level ventilation velocity. distribution in both levels at 600 s. Nearly, all the area in
Also, it can be seen the propagation speed of CO gas layer the lower level is occupied by CO gas regardless of the
in the lower level decreases gradually with time. As shown upper level velocity. Meanwhile, increasing velocity in
in Table 9, the upward spreading speed of the hot air stream the upper level to .5 m/s can halve the backlayering dis-
as well as the CO gas layer can be reduced by increasing tance and by further increasing the velocity to 1.0 m/s,
upper level velocity, but this change does not affect the the backlayering distance is almost diminished. Therefore,
propagation speed of both layers in the lower level. Figure to secure the safe escape route in the case of a fire at the
28 depicts the fire spread at 600 s in Case 2 of Scenarios III, rampway bottom, the CO gas layer is the most critical
IV, V, and VI. By contrast with the cases with a fire at the factor for the emergency measures since the 300-m-long
middle, the hot layer spreads in both levels after 600 s in lower level is almost filled with the gas and its upward
all cases except the case of straight rampway of 7% grade. velocity in the upper level is in the range of .40–.65 m/s
Similarly, dispersion of the CO gas layer is also observed regardless the upper level ventilation velocity. Considering
in both levels, and most of the lower level is occupied. The the workers’ evacuation speed of .8 m/s, all workers should
backlayering of both layers in the upper level can be limited not stay on the lower level, but must evacuate through the
by increasing the upper level velocity up to 1.0 m/s. rampway as soon as possible.

(a) (b)

Figure 29. Plan view of the hot air stream (>60 °C) in the lower and upper levels at 600 s in Case 2 of Scenario III and V. (a) Lower level,
(b) Upper level.
GEOSYSTEM ENGINEERING   335

(a) (b)

Figure 30. Plan view of the CO gas layer (>50 ppm) in upper and low levels at 600 s in Case 2 of Scenario III, V. (a) Lower level, (b) Upper
level.

5. Conclusions the second and third entries. The exhaust


fan mode leads to the faster spread of the
Spatial and temporal distributions of the hot air stream,
hot air stream, but the difference is not
dense smoke, and CO gas layer generated from a 25-ton
considerable.
haulage truck fire in large-opening multi-level limestone
(5)  Control efficiency of the hot air stream by a
mines are the main targets of the study along with effects
250 N fan does not make significant differences
of fan operation, backlayering, and throttling effects. Some
with respect to the fan location, but higher
of the important observations are as follows:
control efficiency by blowing fan mode is well
(1)  The natural propagation velocity of the hot observed. Operating an exhaust fan creates a
air stream generated by a fire in the horizon- considerable disturbance of the air velocity
tal room-and-pillar entry increases asymp- distribution and smoke layers near the ceiling.
totically to .35  m/s in 600  s, while the smoke Disturbance extent is greater for the exhaust
layer shows gradual decrease down to .48 m/s. mode and the fan location further away from
The CO gas layer dissipates faster than the hot the fan.
air stream, but it is similar to the smoke layer (6)  The shape of the CO gas layer front end is dis-
speed at 600 s. tinctively different from those of the hot air
(2)  In a single large-opening entry, the critical stream and smoke layer showing higher value
velocity to prevent backlayering over the entire nearer the ceiling. The CO gas layer above
cross-section is approximately 1.0  m/s. Since 50  ppm tends to occupy the most portion of
the ventilation velocity of 1.0  m/s is difficult the cross-section at the front end. This endan-
to achieve with the existing ventilation sys- gers workers’ evacuation even with allowable
tem at domestic multi-level limestone mines, temperature and visibility.
controlling backlayering in the lower half of (7)  For a fire in the rampway, the CO gas layer
the cross-section by about .5 m/s seems to be expands upward at 1.5–1.6  m/s in the ramp-
enough to secure safe height for evacuees. way, faster than the hot air stream, and
(3)  The throttling effect which results in increased downward at about .53  m/s in the rampway.
air flow rate toward the fire location is observed Downward movement of the CO gas layer
in the large-opening entries; the velocity makes workers trapped in the lower level, and
increases by 1.9 times during 600  s after the it seems to be almost impossible for workers
fire. walking at a speed of .8 m/s to escape the site
(4)  The second and third entries can be a safe in the lower level during the initial stage of fire
place from the hot temperature until the hot development.
air stream arrives in about 200  s regardless (8)  In the case of a fire in the rampway, increasing
of the fan operational modes. Thereafter, the the ventilation velocity in the upper level can
propagation velocity increases gradually in deter the upward propagation of the hot air
336   C. LEE AND V. NGUYEN

stream and CO gas layers, and the backlayering Seminar: Diesels in Underground Mines. Information
can be effectively controlled with the velocity Circular 9141. Pittsburgh, PA: Bureau of Mines.
of 1.0 m/s in the upper level. BS-PD 7974-1. (2003). Application of fire safety engineering
principles to the design of buildings. Initiation and development
(9)  This study shows that at the early stage of a of fire within the enclosure of origin (Sub-system 1). London:
fire, hot temperature, and dense smoke layers British Standards Institution.
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Experimentell utvärdering av möjligheten att utrymma i
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