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Sensitivity analysis of the effect of airflow velocity on the thermal comfort in underground mines

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Displeasure in respect to air volumes and associated airflow velocities are well-documented complaints in underground mines. The complaints often differ in the form that there is too little airflow velocity or too much. In hot and humid climates such as those prevailing in many underground mines, convection heat transfer is the major mode of heat rejection from the human body, through the process of sweat evaporation. Consequently, the motion of the mine air plays a pivotal role in aiding this process. In this paper, a method was developed and adopted in the form of a “comfort model” to predict the optimum airflow velocity required to maintain heat comfort for the underground workforce at different activity levels (e.g. metabolic rates). Simulation analysis predicted comfort limits in the form of required sweat rate and maximum skin wetness. Tolerable worker heat exposure times were also predicted in order to minimize thermal strain due to dehydration. The results indicate that an airflow velocity in the range of 1 e2 m/s is the ideal velocity in order to provide a stress/strain free climate and also guarantee thermal comfort for the workers. Therefore, an optimal airflow velocity of 1.5 m/s for the miners' thermal comfort is suggested.
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Bibliogr. 37 poz.
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