While the main emphasis of this project is the provision of actual and real-time data, either verbally or via sensors of various types, it is recognised that the resilient sensors and communication networks that will facilitate this will not be as comprehensive or as ubiquitous as the sensors and communication networks that are employed during the normal operation of a mine. To augment the resilient technologies that will be developed in this project, therefore, two modelling exercises will be conducted to create simulation tools that can be used as part of the planning of an incident response.
Evacuation Simulation Software
Simulations of the escape process in case of fire or other major incident will be developed to provide useful data about the decision making processes of individuals and groups, leading to information on the most probable location of any missing miners. Such a simulator will also play an important role in improving miner training, and an analysis of errors or possible enhancements in the mine design, leading to safer evacuation processes. By employing an agent-based approach, in contrast to the older generation of pedestrian models which treat the problem as one of continuous flow, a more realistic representation of pedestrian movement will be achieved, thereby allowing the elucidation of subtle but important details of movement and, consequentially, greater insight into probable miner behaviour and location.
The agent-based method of pedestrian modelling, that has been used effectively in spaces such as shopping malls and metro stations, will be adapted and used to model evacuation routes following an incident.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Simulation
To determine expected temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the vicinity of an incident or access galleries, a method of simulation will be developed using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) technology. This will reveal information on the distribution of gases, temperatures and other physical variables and, consequentially, the risk posed to personnel. This, in turn, will address the requirement to augment sensor data with information on the conditions in the mine before permitting access to rescuers and, in the case of the most extreme cases such as when very high temperatures are likely, before deploying unmanned exploratory vehicles into the affected areas.