Cryogenic Air Supply Feasibility for a Confined Space: Underground Refuge Alternative Case Study
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Cryogenic Air Supply Feasibility for a Confined Space: Underground Refuge Alternative Case Study

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English

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  • Alternative Title:
    ASME J Heat Mass Transf
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  • Description:
    A breathable air source is required for a confined space such as an underground refuge alternative (RA) when it is occupied. To minimize the risk of suffocation, federal regulations require that mechanisms be provided and procedures be included so that, within the refuge alternative, the oxygen concentration is maintained at levels between 18.5% and 23% for 96 h. The regulation also requires that, during use of the RA, the concentration of carbon dioxide should not exceed 1%, and the concentration of carbon monoxide should not exceed 25 ppm. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated the cryogenic air supply's ability to provide breathable air for a refuge alternative. A propane smoker was used to simulate human breathing by burning propane gas which will consume O| and generate CO| and H|O. The rate of propane burned at the smoker was controlled to represent the O| consumption rate for the breathing of a certain number of people. Two 96-h tests were conducted in a sealed shipping container, which was used as a surrogate for a refuge alternative. While burning propane gas to simulate human oxygen consumption, cryogenic air was provided to the shipping container to determine if the cryogenic air supply would keep the O| level above 18.5% and CO| level below 1% inside the shipping container as required by the federal regulations pertaining to refuge alternatives. Both of the 96-h tests simulated the breathing of 21 persons. The first test used the oxygen consumption rate (1.32 cu ft of pure oxygen per hour per person) specified in federal regulations, while the second test used the oxygen consumption rate specified by (Bernard et al. 2018, "Estimation of Metabolic Heat Input for Refuge Alternative Thermal Testing and Simulation," Min. Eng., |(8), pp. 50-54) (0.67 cu ft of pure oxygen per hour per person). The test data shows that during both 96-h tests, the oxygen level was maintained within a 21-23% range, and the CO| level was maintained below 1% (0.2-0.45%). The information in this paper could be useful when applying a cryogenic air supply as a breathable air source for an underground refuge alternative or other confined space. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4064062].
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  • Pubmed ID:
    38162462
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC10755670
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