Overview

In this project-based activity, students learn how to design ventilation systems for mines while simultaneously learning collaboration and problem-solving skills.

This activity begins with a warm-up exercise intended to help students make connections between ventilation concepts and analytical calculations. Throughout the semester, groups to solve three open design problems. Each mini design builds on the skills developed in the previous mini design. The first mini-design involves a pressure loss scenario, and students develop a design process. The second mini-design involves a ventilation network scenario (using ...

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In this project-based activity, students learn how to design ventilation systems for mines while simultaneously learning collaboration and problem-solving skills.

This activity begins with a warm-up exercise intended to help students make connections between ventilation concepts and analytical calculations. Throughout the semester, groups to solve three open design problems. Each mini design builds on the skills developed in the previous mini design. The first mini-design involves a pressure loss scenario, and students develop a design process. The second mini-design involves a ventilation network scenario (using VentSim), and students develop a design process, select and use engineering tools. The third mini-design involves a mine heating and cooling scenario (using VentSim), and students develop a design process, evaluate engineering tools and identify the tools’ limitations.

The activity culminates in a final design project, which builds on the skills that students developed during the mini designs. Students work in the same groups as for the mini designs, so they are able to develop their teamwork skills. In completing the final design project, students work on their analytical reasoning, written, peer feedback, and presentation skills.

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Objectives

  • Design and analyze mine ventilation system, including estimation of airflow requirement, airflow resistance, pressure losses and fan power;
  • Plan, create and evaluate ventilation network analytically using Kirchhoff’s law and numerically using Hardy-Cross technique in VentSim design software;
  • Design and select ventilation fan based on its optimum performance;
  • Describe and evaluate mine gases and dust and their mitigation strategies;
  • Use psychrometric chart for heating and cooling design as well as use ClimSim climatic design software to design and assess thermal condition in mine.

Context and requirements

Level University
Discipline Engineering
Course MIME 422 Mine Ventilation
Activity Content Mine ventilation; open-ended design; project
Technological Requirements Simulation software (VentSim; VuMa)
Best Use Project

Author’s Notes

Benefits

  • Because of its scaffolded design, this project progressively introduces students to concepts and calculations and provides them with iterative opportunities to practice and work with the course content in varied contexts.
  • Incorporating three mini designs throughout the semester improves the quality of students’ final design projects.

Challenges

  • Language barriers can make interactions among group members or between student and instructor challenging.
  • Students can find the software challenging to use.

Tips

  • Because of the joint involvement of French and English students, it is helpful to have bilingual TAs so that students can work and generate reports in either language during the project
  • Monitor progress: midway through the final design project (day 5), the instructor sets up office hours so that groups can come and check-in with their progress. The instructor uses a checklist of items that the students should have completed by day 5. This helps students gauge if they are on track with their work, or if they need to direct more time to the project. This also helps the instructor to gauge how well students are working together within a team.
  • Have students perform the final design project prior to the final exam. Because the design project encompasses all the material covered in the course, it acts as a review for students and helps them to prepare for the exam.

Activity Pedagogical Components

Problem-solving

Students works in groups to solve exercises.

Project-Based Learning

Students work in groups to research, design, and write up a project report.

Peer Evaluation

Groups evaluate each other’s projects and presentations and provide feedback.

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