Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

James Smith


A need has been recognized to have battery charging capabilities in underground mines, independent of outside AC power sources. In the event of emergency, the radios located throughout underground mines stay charged for periods insufficient to ensure the safety of trapped mineworkers. Air is always being distributed to supply oxygen and to dilute explosive gases throughout all sections of the mine. An idea to charge the batteries using the energy stored in the moving air was recently proposed. The feasibility of using a small wind turbine to charge the batteries in this airlflow will be addressed by this thesis. If the proposal is feasible, a numerical model will be constructed to design an optimal rotor system for the device.;The use of a small wind turbine to aid in emergency mine communication was found to be feasible and a numerical model utilizing Blade Element Momentum theory has been developed to produce optimal solutions to the battery charging problem. Several rotor configurations have been found to produce the amount of power required to charge the batteries (4 Watts). Due to the structural concerns in an underground mine, a wind turbine should be shielded for the protection of workers. A diffuser shroud can provide this structure and also increase the power output of the system for a given size rotor. A simple diffuser shroud is evaluated and included in the model. Results from the model include the physical parameters needed to efficiently design a wind turbine system for use in this application.