Jan 30, 2017

Lecturer: Paul van Susante, Michigan Technological University

Dr. Paul van Susante is a senior lecturer at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in the Mechanical Engineering Department and founder and faculty advisor of the Mining INnovation Enterprise at MTU. He received a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Delft University of Technology and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from the Colorado School of Mines. He has worked for 18 years now on projects about lunar base design and construction, large lunar telescope design and construction, space mining and construction, In-Situ Resource Utilization and space mining/construction robot design, prototype construction and testing. His current projects include ISRU on Mars for oxygen and hydrogen (or methane) production and Lunar and Mars landing pad construction robotics using local rocks. He was a faculty fellow at NASA Kennedy Space Center in summer of 2010 where he worked closely with the current Swamp Works team. He is vice-chair of the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers and secretary of the Space Resources Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has published over 60 conference and journal articles.

Topic: Conveying technologies, Mining Cycles and Mining Requirements

Several topics will be discussed in this seminar. A crucial first step in any mining operation is exploration of an area or planetary body for resources. This involves orbital, aerial and surface exploration techniques. Design of the mine, engineering, processing and equipment design and system trade-offs are enormously dependent on what the resource and waste mix are as well as the location and chemical and mechanical form it occurs in. More knowledge (risk reduction) is better, but it comes at a price.

The location of the resource is fixed but the location of the mine, processing facilities, utilities and end product users is not. Conveyance between these places is necessary since it is unlikely these facilities will be in the same place for reasons such as dust production, minimizing transportation energy use, etc. Within a processing facility conveyance is also required from one system to another. Traditional conveyance techniques such as conveyor belts, augers, vibratory conveyance, rail and loaders and trucks will be discussed as well as more specialized methods such as hydraulic, magnetic, gravitic, pneumatic methods.

Sizing of the components, equipment and processing facilities as well as a batch or continuous process is determined by the conveyance between the different steps. Mining cycles and their efficiency are the driving factor in any Earth mine design in both underground and surface mining. The entire supply chain has several cycles in it that all have to be sized together so there is no over or under capacity along the chain. This includes conveyance time, anticipated break downs, scheduled maintenance, communication delays, recharge time, throughput, buffer supplies, etc. Automation (and the level of autonomy) is of interest to many Earth companies and is a driving requirement for space mining. Typically when equipment stands still, it is losing money, and the maximization of utilization is crucial for profits in Earth’s mining industry. In space mining, instead of pure economy, custom equipment needs to be sized properly to maximize efficiency and minimize mass and power requirements.

Exploration, Conveyance and Mining Cycles are all determined fundamentally by the mining requirements, or how much feedstock/ore is required per day. Different options may exist to produce the same amount of end-product (e.g. water to produce Oxygen and hydrogen). In addition, other

outpost needs require mining / material excavation and transport (roads, berms, landing pads, etc. civil engineering). The total outpost growth and needs over time determine the size, type and number of the mining equipment needed.

Recommended Readings:

Mars Water ISRU Study (click here to download)

Proceedings of the ASCE Aerospace Division Earth and Space Conference series (formerly Engineering, Operations and Construction in Space / Extreme Environments) (click here to download)

Space Resources Roundtable / Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium Proceedings (click here to download)

Lecture Slides: click here to download

Recorded Talk: click to view