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Agioutantis Receives New Alpha Foundation Grant

Mining Engineering Foundation Professor Zach Agioutantis has received a new grant from the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health. The $223,000 award will support Agioutantis’ investigation into pillar design and stability with integrated pillar load and opening convergence in mines.

This research effort entails the quantitative evaluation of a ground response method (GRM) approach to the analysis of underground pillar and ground support stability. The development and validation of the proposed ground response methodology will provide the mining industry with a means of evaluating the effectiveness of pillar-support systems by taking into consideration in-seam material, overburden strata, and ground support behaviors. The proposed methodology will be applicable in both room-and-pillar coal and stone mining operations as well as longwall coal mining operations.

In 2017, Agioutantis, mining engineering professor Joe Sottile and mining engineering associate professor Steven Schafrik received a four-year, $2.19 million grant from the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health to integrate autonomous shuttle cars into existing underground coal mine infrastructure.

Agioutantis joined the Department of Mining Engineering in 2014.