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Statler College researcher and students receive mining awards from SME

Prasoon Garg, Qingqing Huang, Yuting Xue

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A post-doctoral researcher and two graduate students in the Department of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University have received awards from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

Qingqinq Huang, a post-doctoral researcher from Haubei, China, has been selected for the SME Rong Yu Wan Dissertation Award. The award is presented to recent Ph.D. graduates with outstanding dissertation research in the area of metallurgical engineering and comes with a $1,000 prize.

Huang’s dissertation, “Rock dust surface chemistry modification for eliminating cake formation and improving dispersion in coal dust explosion mitigations,” focuses on processing rock dusts in the wet form using various surface chemistry methods and active reagents to reduce the risk of mining explosions. This method greatly improves the dispersal of rock dust particles and reduces the potential for mine explosions by up to 83 percent. 

“I am very honored and grateful that my research has been recognized as one with high impact on the field of mining and metallurgical engineering by SME,” Huang said. “Receiving this award gives me the opportunity to share my research at the 2017 SME Conference.” She is advised by Assistant Professor Aaron Noble.

Yuting Xue and Prasoon Garg were both awarded the Syd S. and Felicia F. Peng Ground Control in Mining Scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to encourage students to pursue careers in ground control engineering, which focuses on being able to predict and manipulate stressors that jeopardize the safety of underground mines. They are advised by Associate Professor Brijes Mishra.

Xue’s, a doctoral student from Shandong, China, is researching the time-dependent deformation and failure of roofs in underground coal mines, a topic that has rarely been investigated in previous studies. The study focuses on determining factors that induce stress on roofs in underground mines, which allows engineers to predict when roof failures may occur. Through laboratory test, theoretical analysis and numerical simulation, Xue hopes to discover mechanisms that can predict and prevent these failures in underground coal mines, thus improving mine safety.

“I was very excited to learn that I had received a scholarship from SME,” Xue said. “Being recognized for my desire and passion to pursue a career in this industry will really encourage my continuing research in mining engineering.”

Garg, a graduate student from Uttar Pradesh, India, is currently conducting a study on the behavior of laminated or weak roofs in mines under high stress and its contributions to cutter roof failure. Cutter roof failure is a common issue in coal mining that initially begins as a fracture plane in the roof rock at one or both corners that then extends deeper into the roof, which causes the roof rock to lose its load bearing capacity and can lead to collapses.  Garg will be using a combination of modelling techniques and laboratory test to find and simulate the exact stress conditions that cause laminated roof cutter failure which will allow engineers to predict and prevent roof collapses, a leading cause of injury and casualties in mining.

“I was completely overwhelmed with joy and a real sense of achievement upon learning that I had received a scholarship from SME,” Garg said. “I am very excited about the opportunities and honor coupled with this scholarship and look forward to meeting distinguished SME leaders from around the world at the upcoming SME conference.”

SME is a professional society that encourages worldwide advancement in the mining and underground construction industry by offering professional development and information exchange opportunities for its 15,000 members located in more than 100 countries. The award recipients will be honored at the SME Foundation Dinner Feb. 19 during the annual SME Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado.



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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