At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Engineering

Instructional Level

  • University


  • Mine Ventilation

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Solving problems
  • Analyzing
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Creating & designing
  • Revising & improving
  • Presenting

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Simulation Software


  • Multiple class periods (2-3 classes)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building


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 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.

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze a mine ventilation system including estimation of airflow requirement, airflow resistance, pressure losses and fan power
  • Evaluate a ventilation network analytically using Kirchhoff’s law and numerically using Hardy-Cross technique in VentSim design software
  • Design a ventilation fan based on its optimum performance
  • Describe mine gases and dust and their mitigation strategies
  • Assess thermal conditions in a mine using a psychrometric chart for heating and cooling design and ClimSim climatic design software
  • Design a mine ventilation system

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • 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.

Students can find the software challenging to use.

  • 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.


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