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Key outcomes:

  • Energy consumption reduced
  • Flow distribution improved

Proper ventilation is critical in the underground mines, as it maintains the flow of fresh air and removes hazardous gases and dust in underground mines to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for miners. To maximise fan performance and efficient it is essential to achieve a steady, uniform flow field in the fan inlet. Unsteady or unbalanced flow place additional loads on the fan blades, increase vibrations, and reduce the flow rate. In this case study, Synergetics conducted design optimization of a large-scale mineshaft ventilation fan inlet to reduce losses. Synergetics conducted computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling to simulate the airflow within the ducting immediately upstream of a large-scale centrifugal fan.

Cutplanes of CFD modelled velocity for two bends at a fan inlet. One without turning vanes, and one with. The turning vanes result in a more uniform, optimise flow into the fan.

Figure 1: Velocity distribution within the right angle bend both without (left) and with (right) turning vanes. Red corresponds to high air velocity and blue low. The vanes significantly reduce the low-speed recirculation bubble on the inside of the bend, resulting in a more uniform velocity.

The analysis determined that adding optimized turning vanes to the ducts could significantly enhance flow distribution and boost fan efficiency. This enabled the operators to lower energy consumption and operational costs, as well as extend the lifespan of the existing fans.

For more industrial process modelling, see our sector page.