Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering


This thesis summarizes the technique used to build underground coal refuge shelters and their availabilities. The first step is to discuss the manufacturers of the shelter and the types that they can provide. Next, the requirements set forth by the West Virginia Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training (WVOMHST) and Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) regarding the design of the shelters/chambers are examined.;The first specification examined is whether or not the shelters/chambers can withstand a 15 psi overpressure. This is determined by using techniques used in the analysis of rectangular steel beams and steel sheets. The equations used for this analysis are provided by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The end result is the calculation of a safety factor that determines if the steel rectangular beams or steel sheets will survive a 15 psi pressure that may result from an explosion.;The second specification examined is the air quality/quantity requirements. The WVOMHST requires that an internal shelter atmosphere contain at least 19.5 percent oxygen, < 0.5 percent carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide levels must not be above 50 parts per million (ppm). The ability of the chambers to maintain these requirements are examined using the respiratory quotient technique. Also, the ability of the shelters/chamber to dilute high carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels are examined.;Finally, the WVOMHST require that the shelters/chambers be capable of maintaining an apparent internal temperature of 95 degrees fahrenheit. The shelters/chambers ability to do this are examined using a technique common to the American Society of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE). The process used determines the specific humidity and temperature of the internal atmosphere of a shelter/chamber. Using these calculations the heat index, also known as apparent temperature, is determined.