Title page for ETD etd-10042012-112333

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Kempson, William James
URN etd-10042012-112333
Document Title Optimising shaft pressure losses through computational fluid dynamic modelling
Degree PhD(Eng)
Department Mining Engineering
Advisor Name Title
Prof J P Meyer Co-Supervisor
Prof R C W Webber-Youngman Supervisor
  • ventilation flow
  • pressure losses
  • bunton configuration
  • energy savings
Date 2012-09-06
Availability unrestricted
As a result of the rising electrical energy costs in South Africa, a method was sought to reduce the overall electrical consumption of typical shaft systems. A typical shaft configuration was analysed and the primary energy consumers were identified. The ventilation fans for this system were found to consume a total of 15% of the total energy of the shaft system. It was calculated that more than 50% of this energy is consumed by the shaft itself, more specifically by the pressure losses that occur in the shaft as the ventilation air passes through it.

It was recognised that there was therefore an opportunity to achieve an energy savings and therefore a costs savings in the total cost of operating a shaft system by reducing the overall resistance of the equipped downcast shaft. However, before any work could continue in this regard, the results noted above required validation. This was achieved though the comprehensive evaluation of the Impala #14 Shaft system. This system was tested and the pressure losses noted in the calculations were verified.

In order to ensure that the theory being used was accurate, the next step was to evaluate a number of shafts both from a theoretical perspective by measuring the real shaft pressure losses against time. This was done and a total of five shafts were instrumented and the actual pressure losses over the shaft plotted against time. These shafts were then subjected to a theoretical evaluation using the theory as described by McPherson in 1987.

Finally, in order to ensure a thorough understanding of the behaviour of the ventilation air in shaft systems, the systems were simulated using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) techniques.

On the whole there was not a good correlation between the tests and either the theoretical calculations or the CFD simulations. This was attributed to the general imperfections in the shaft and the difficulty in obtaining exact values for the drag coefficients of the buntons. These differences highlight the difficulty in modeling the non-homogenous physical environment and providing a factor that can be used to ensure that the theoretical designs are aligned with the physical reality. This factor is approximately 30%.

There were also significant discrepancies between the theoretical analysis and the CFD simulation during the initial comparisons. This discrepancy reduced as the complexity of the CFD models increased, until, when the complete shaft was modeled using the full buntons sets, the pipes and the flanges, the difference between the theoretical evaluation and the CFD simulation was small.

The result demonstrates that the theory is insufficient and that the inter-related effect of the buntons and fittings has not been fully appreciated. The current theory however has been developed using drag coefficients and interference factors for the buntons sets which have been taken from measurements of similar configurations. This does account for the relative accuracy of the current theory in that there is little difference between the CFD result and that of the theory. However, as the shaft parameters are changed to reflect new layouts and scenarios, it is unlikely that theory will continue to prove accurate.

The final phase of the work presented here was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using different bunton shapes and shaft configurations. It is shown that:

  • The increase in the pressure losses and therefore the direct operating costs of the shaft can vary by as much as 80%, depending on the bunton configuration chosen.
  • The placement of the piping in the shaft can increase the pressure losses and therefore the direct operating costs of the shaft by as much as 12%, depending on the placement of the piping in the shaft; this effect includes the use of flanges.
  • The use of fairings on a large cage can reduce the resistance that the cage offers to the ventilation flow by as much as 30%. This, however, does not translate into a direct saving because as the cage moves through the shaft, the overall effect is transitory.

The savings discussed above can be significant when the items highlighted in this work are applied correctly.

2012 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Kempson, WJ 2012, Optimising shaft pressure losses through computational fluid dynamic modelling, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10042012-112333/ >


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