Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Kenneth Means.


In 2006 several coal mine tragedies led to safety legislation to provide post accident protection to coal miners. One of the key aspects of this legislation was providing refuge areas where miners could await rescue if they could not escape the mine. These refuge areas were to be designed to sustain life for four days, providing the miners with adequate oxygen, carbon dioxide scrubbing, food, water, and reasonable temperature control. A parametric study has been performed to provide further definition of the requirements in order to design an optimal portable refuge chamber with little or no electricity to enhance the comfort level of the trapped miners. The specific areas of interest concentrate on the amount and method of supplying oxygen and carbon dioxide scrubbing per miner along with the method of cooling necessary for sustaining the miners. Temperature inside the chamber becomes a vital concern when the outside ambient temperature rises in conjunction with internally generated heat from carbon dioxide scrubbing and metabolic body heat, causing internal temperatures to become elevated above safe levels. The maximum ambient temperature to sustain miners without air conditioning and the maximum ambient temperature with air conditioning was investigated to provide the best protection for the miners after an accident. The following work describes the complete calculations and design of the parameters using fundamentals from Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning.