The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » Monthly - November 2, 2015
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Seismic Probe for Safer Mines
Scientists from the Central Mining Institute in the southern city of Katowice have invented a user-friendly probe that improves the monitoring of seismic risk in coal mines.

The probe measures the velocity of vibrations caused by seismic tremors that may pose a threat to the stability of mine infrastructure, especially at considerable depths underground. To guard against the risk of cave-ins when excavations are drilled, mine engineers monitor the vibrations of the rock mass with a probe. The probe has to be moved periodically so it must be of moderate size and easy to assemble.

The new probe is the invention of scientists Grzegorz Mutke, Adam Lurka, Józef Dubiński and Marian Turek working under the guidance of Prof. Hubert Logiewa. It is equipped with special sensors so that it can be mounted either vertically or horizontally. It features three low-frequency sensors that record the speed of vibrations in three directions. After it is assembled and connected by means of cables, the probe requires no further service. It can work without interruption regardless of the conditions around it.

The probe is designed to help improve mine safety and reduce the costs of potential damage. The device is also used to conduct seismological observations.

The new probe is already being used in mines in Poland. In the future it may also be installed in mines abroad, especially in China where there is high seismic activity and a substantial threat to the stability of mine infrastructure.

The probe is being used in a European research project on special measurement sites in Polish mines. The project, called Intelli-Mine, is part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

The Polish probe meets the requirements of the EU’s ATEX explosion safety directive and can be used in any underground mine, including those with a high methane hazard.

Karolina Olszewska