Faculty Research

Sukumar Bandopadhyay, Professor, Ph.D., P.E.: Mine ventilation, mining methods, operations research, arctic mining, mine surveying, and mine planning

Gang Chen, Professor, Ph.D., P.E.: Rock mechanics in mining and civil construction, mine ground control, rock blasting, frozen ground engineering, GIS application in mining

Margaret Darrow, Assistant Professor, Ph.D.: Frozen ground engineering, frost heave, soil physics, thermal modeling of embankments

Rajive Ganguli, Professor, Ph.D., P.E.: Application of numerical techniques in mining and related fields, such as computational intelligence, statistical process control, geostatistics, time series analysis, other operations research methods as well as computer-aided mine design

Scott Huang, Professor, Ph.D.: Slope stability, soil and rock mechanics, tunneling, arctic engineering, gas pipeline engineering, remote sensing

Paul Metz, Professor, Ph.D., P. G.: Mineral exploration, valuation, and economics, terrain analysis and site selection, geophysical exploration, geo-material engineering

Debasmita Misra, Assistant Professor, Ph.D.: Numerical modeling, geostatistics, groundwater hydrology, geo-environmental engineering




Mineral Industry Research Laboratory (MIRL) is a well-equipped coal laboratory is devoted to research and service activities on the characterization, petrography, distribution, and preparation of Alaska's coals. The laboratory facilities at MIRL include: Mineral Processing Lab, Hydrometallurgy Lab, Electrochemistry Lab, Analytical Lab, and a Coal Lab.

Coal Preparation Laboratory

The laboratory capabilities include the following: coal analysis, coal petrology, vitrinite reflectance as a measure of rank, washability analysis (heavy liquid separation), crushing circuits, sizing equipment, (tables, jigs, spirals, and water-only cyclones), froth flotation, dewatering circuits, and hydrothermal treatment. The major pieces of equipment include Fisher Coal Analyzer 490 for proximate analyses, Leitz Vario-Othomat microscope, crushers, pulverizers, screens, hardgrove grindability mill, Coal hydrothermal treatment facility, concentrating tables, batch flotation cells, classifying cyclone, jigs, spirals, water-only cyclones. Recent upgrade includes the acquisition of TGA from U.S. DOE.

Mineral Preparation Engineering Laboratory

Laboratory capabilities include: Crushing, grinding, sizing classification, wet gravity concentration, froth flotation, magnetic and electrostatic separation, chemical analysis of ores, concentrates and tailings, flow rate measurements, pulp density measurements and heavy liquid separations. The major pieces of Equipment include jaw crusher, roll crusher, cone crusher, pulverizer, ring grinder, ball mills, Ro-tap sieve shaker, bond grindability mill, sieves, vibrating screens, static screens, jigs, spiral, hydrocyclones, tables, flotation cells (Denver), magnetic separators, electrostatic separators, Franz magnetic separator and atomic absorption (Perkin Elmer). Recent upgrade since 2001 includes the acquisitions of an electronic balance, the SWECO screen and the Tyler Sieves.

Rock Mechanics Laboratory

The Rock Mechanics laboratory is used for conducting experiments and tests on rock and soil samples under various environmental conditions, for both teaching and research purposes. The major piece of equipment in the laboratory is a rock testing machine with a loading capacity of 330,000 lbs. The testing machine includes an environmental chamber and a fully computerized control and data acquisition system. Other equipment in the laboratory include a tensile strength testing machine with a loading capacity of 55,000 lbs, a direct shear testing apparatus, and several field testing and monitoring instruments. The digital control and data acquisition system was recently upgraded in the fall of 2001. In addition, a creep testing frame with a capacity of 100,000 lbs and an Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) testing system were added to the laboratory in 2001 and 2004 respectively.

Rock Drilling and Rock Core Preparation Laboratory

The laboratory is equipped with a rock coring machine, a rock saw and a grinding machine. The laboratory is primarily used to prepare specimens for testing and experiments to be conducted in the Rock Mechanics Laboratory. In addition, the rock coring machine has been instrumented allowing precise measurement of several drilling parameters for detailed drilling experiments. The grinding machine and the rock saw were overhauled in 2002 and 2005.

Computer Laboratory

The computer lab is a multipurpose lab used by all students of the department (Mining and Geological Engineering. A network of 6 PC computers is linked to the UAF domain. There are software packages available for word processing, drawing, scanning, and the internet. The lab is also used by students for classes that require the use of software packages specific to certain areas such as ArcGIS, AutoCAD, FORTRAN90, ERDAS Imaging, ERMapper, and MATLAB. The major pieces of equipment include 6 Dell Dimension 2350 computers, a high-capacity networked LaserJet printer and various software packages. All the computers were newly replaced after 2001.

Mine Design Laboratory

The mine design lab is dedicated for Mining Engineering students that wish to use specific mine design software for their mine design project during their senior year. It is also used to teach courses such as MIN 481 and 482 that require use of design software. The major pieces of equipment include 3 Dell PC's and a HP Color laser jet printer. The major software includes VULCAN 5.0, TECHBASE, MATLAB (2 licenses), Neural Network and Statistical Toolbox (1 license), NEUROSHELL2 (2 licenses) and ISAIIS. The equipment and software packages are recent upgrade after 2001. In addition, new furniture was added.

Mine Ventilation Laboratory

The Mine Ventilation Laboratory has the most advanced instruments for the measurements of atmospheric environmental conditions (gas, dust, heat and humidity velocity and pressure of air) in mines. The unique feature of the laboratory is a mine model (as two mine airways in parallel). Two fans are of centrifugal type and blow air into the airways. The fans can be operated in parallel. A "CONSPEC Senturion 500 Mine Ventilation monitoring and control system" which is an integral part of the ventilation laboratory has been installed for remote and continuous monitoring of mine environment. In 2001, a ventilation educator system was purchased and added to the lab.

The laboratory contains the most up-to-date surveying equipment for surface and underground mine surveying. This laboratory provides convenient first-hand exposure to mine surveying for students enrolled in mining and geological engineering programs. The major pieces of equipment include total stations, digital theodolites, transits, EDMs and GPS systems.

General Geology for Engineers Lab

The laboratory consists of specimens for mineral and rock identification, topographic and geologic map reading, and aerial photo interpretation. In addition to rock and mineral identification and map reading, students are expected to be able to recognize the landforms associated with each of the major geologic processes. The laboratory exercises emphasize landforms in Alaska, and field trips supplement the classroom experience. The laboratory contains common mineral and rock collections, stereoscopes, maps and air photos, and 9 handheld GPS.

Geomaterial Lab

This laboratory is used to teach geological engineering students basic soils mechanics including the effects of water on soils strength. Laboratory equipment available to perform testing includes specific gravity, moisture content, sieve analysis, hydrometer analysis, Atterberg limits, standard and modified Proctor compaction, and falling and constant head permeability. Field equipment for soil sampling is also available.

Subsurface Hydrology Lab

This laboratory is used by undergraduate students for the groundwater hydrology class. Tests for particle size analysis, soil properties, and hydrological parameters can be conducted. Field devices for measuring the groundwater level are available.

Exploration Geophysics Lab

This laboratory trains students various types of geophysical equipments. The space designated for the lab is only for storage of the field equipment. The lab functions are in part completed in the field, depending on weather conditions. The majority of laboratory work is conducted in the lecture classroom. The lab exercises entail review of the operating procedures for the equipment and reduction of data collected in the field or actual field data collected in previous years. Lab problem sets are available for each geophysical exploration method listed in the course description. The major pieces of equipment include Refraction seismograph, VLF, Gravity meter (on loan from the Geophysical Institute), Horizontal/vertical Loop EM, Magnetometers, Max-min EM, Resistivity meter and Gamma ray spectrometer. With additional equipment fund, the GE program has submitted a purchase request to acquire a ground penetration radar (GPR) for permafrost detection.