Graduate Catalog
2018-2019
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Mining Engineering
College of Engineering
Academics; completed March 1940. Cost $157,239; 50,807 sq. ft. The building was dedicated to Roy Jay Holden (1870-1945), who was a professor from 1905 to 1945 and head of the Department of Geology from 1907 to 1945. The head of VPI's geology department for 38 years, noted geologist Holden sited Virginia's first gas well, located water wells when a shortage threatened VPI, and assessed the safety of the Claytor Lake Dam site. But he forged his true legacy in the classroom.
Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering (0239) Holden Hall 100, Virginia Tech 445 Old Turner Street Blacksburg VA 24061
Holden Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Mining Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
• MEng
MEng Degree in Mining Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
• PhD
PhD Degree in Mining Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-6671
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Apr 01
Spring: Sep 01
Summer I: Jan 01
Summer II: Feb 01
Directions
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Holden Hall

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Department Head : Erik Westman
Graduate Program Director : Kramer Luxbacher (Associate Department Head)
Professors: Michael Karmis; Gerald Luttrell; Kramer Luxbacher; Erik Westman; Roe Yoon
Associate Professors: Mario Karfakis; Christopher Noble; Emily Sarver
Assistant Professors: Cheng Chen; Ellen Gilliland; Bahareh Nojabaei; Nino Ripepi
E. Morgan Massey Professor: Gerald Luttrell
Stonie Barker Professor: Michael Karmis
University Distinguished Professor and Nicholas T. Camicia Professor: Roe Yoon
Research Assistant Professors: Edmund Jong (Arlington)

Mining Engineering Introduction

The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering (MinE) offers advanced graduate degrees (MEng, MS and PhD) that are designed to educate students for high-level challenges in industry, academia, and government. Graduate work may be pursued in several areas of specialization including rock mechanics, ground control, systems analysis, health and safety, mineral and coal processing, applied surface and colloid chemistry, conservation and the environment, mining ventilation, computer modeling/simulation, automation and control, and reservoir/natural gas/shale gas engineering. One or more of the topics may be emphasized within the department at a given time based on the ongoing research activity of the full-time faculty assigned to the department. 

Graduate students accepted to the program are generally provided financial support through sponsored grants, teaching assistantships or graduate fellowships. A major goal of the department is to afford all graduate students with the opportunity to participate in creative and challenging research projects, which typically lead to scholarly publications in international journals and conference proceedings. The graduate program also recognizes the specific needs of industry professionals with a program that strives to upgrade technological skills of practicing engineers, encourage the pursuit of doctoral-level work, and provide an opportunity for advanced education and career reorientation. 

The MinE graduate program is administered by the Department Head and a Departmental Graduate Committee. The Departmental Graduate Committee is responsible for identifying high-quality students acceptable for admission, for overseeing the graduate program curriculum, and for establishing and monitoring program standards. The Department Head appoints faculty members to serve on the Departmental Graduate Committee and approves all petition to the Graduate School based upon the recommendations of the committee. 



Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
Master of Science (MS): Successful MS students must complete 30 hours of university credit of which a minimum of 20 hours involve coursework and a maximum of 10 hours involve research. Students must also prepare and defend a written Thesis of their research findings during a Final Examination before an Examining Committee.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
Master of Engineering (MEng): Successful MEng students must complete 30 hours of applicable coursework and prepare and defend a written Project Report during a Final Examination before an Examining Committee.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Successful PhD students must complete 90 hours of university credit of which a minimum of 30 hours involve coursework and a maximum of 60 hours involve research. Students must also prepare and defend a written Dissertation of their research findings during a Final Examination before an Examining Committee. PhD candidates must pass a Qualifying Examination prior to the end of their first year of residency and must also pass a Preliminary Examination at least six months prior to taking the Final Examination. 

Mining Engineering Facilities Introduction

The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech offers graduate students access to state-of-the-art equipment and world-class facilities for research studies. The facilities include laboratories for advanced computing, mine automation and control, carbon storage, environmental monitoring, geomechanics, health and safety, mineral processing, mine rescue, rock mechanics, subsurface atmospheres, surface and colloids, mine surveying and mine ventilation.The laboratories are supported by a well-equipped mechanical shop. 

Department Facilities

The following is a listing of laboratories currently operated and maintained by the department.

  • Advanced Computing Laboratory: In addition to the university's state-of-the-art supercomputer systems, the department operates a dedicated computing facility equipped with modern workstations and large-scale printers/plotters.  Additionally, the department houses a dedicated supercomputer utilized for CFD and advanced reservoir modeling.
  • Mine Automation and Process Control Laboratory: The facilities in the Mine Automation and Process Control Laboratory include 10 workstations equipped with state-of-the-art industrial programmable logical controllers (PLCs) and associated input/output and communication modules. The workstations provide hands-on experience in hardware configuration, software development, input/output wiring, ladder logic programming, analog-digital conversion, loop control and tuning, communication architectures, human interfaces and troubleshooting.
  • Carbon Storage/Management Laboratory: This laboratory is home to specialized equipment and instrumentation used in cutting-edge research programs related to the production of coalbed methane and natural/shale gas and the geologic sequestration of carbon. The facility includes equipment and instrumentation for capacity assessment and field validation of geologic reservoirs and formations.
  • Environmental Laboratories: The environmental laboratory facilities include instrumentation for routine water/soil analysis and dust monitoring. A new thermogravimetric analyzer and microbalance have recently been installed to allow analysis of organic compounds in dusts and other solid samples. The laboratory is also equipped with a diesel engine and particle size analyzers for investigation of diesel particulate matter. Detailed characterization of both solid and water samples is conducted through cooperation with other laboratories on campus.
  • Geomechanics Instrumentation Laboratory: The facilities in the Earth Systems Instrumentation Laboratory include a 16-source, 18-receiver ultrasonic tomography system. This system includes a Panametrics ultrasonic pulser, a 16-channel switchbox, PAC Micro-80 piezoelectric transducers, and National Instruments PXI-6115 high-speed digitizers (20 Msamples/sec). Additional equipment includes a 16-channel acoustic emission monitoring system which is used for laboratory passive tomography. 
  • Mineral Processing Laboratories: The facilities in mineral processing include a wide array of laboratory equipment for crushing, grinding, separation, dewatering and drying. In addition, the department operates a modern pilot-plant facility that is home to process units such as ball mills, flotation banks, flotation columns, conditioners, electrostatic/magnetic separators, vacuum filters, ore bins, conveyors, sumps and pumps. Supporting equipment includes a vast array of advanced instruments for particle size analysis, mineralogical characterization and elemental determinations. 
  • Mine Rescue Laboratory:  The Mine Rescue Laboratory houses eight Biomarine mine rescue apparatus and associated support equipment, including standard communication, rescue and first aid equipment, as well as personal protective equipment.
  • Rock Mechanics and Ground Control Laboratory: The rock mechanics facilities include a laboratory for preparation of rock specimens for strength testing, three megapound testing machines (three MTS servo-controlled, stiff-test units with computerized data acquisition facilities, one of which is for dynamic testing at 2 m/sec loading rate), triaxial and two shear testing units, a creep testing machine with digital data acquisition system, equipment for seismic testing of rock in both field and laboratory, and subsidence monitoring equipment.
  • Shale/Natural Gas Laboratory: The shale/natural gas laboratory is home to a variety of instrumentation and equipment used in the study of shale/natural gas resources. This laboratory is used by faculty engaged in the study of gas transport processes through nanometer-scale pore geometries.  Ongoing studies include rock characterization, image processing, and pore-scale simulation.  
  • Subsurface Atmospheres Laboratory: The Subsurface Atmospheres Laboratory houses 3 gas chromatographs and 1 gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer.  The laboratory is utilized for characterization of subsurface atmospheres and systems including underground mine ventilation systems, as well as shale and coal reservoirs.  Detectors include flame ionization, thermal conductivity, and electron capture.  The facility also has autosampling capability and utilizes associated technologies including two digital mass flow controllers, sample vacuum system, and solid phase microextraction. 
  • Surface and Colloid Chemistry Laboratories: Some of the noteworthy facilities of the surface and colloid chemistry laboratories include a UV spectrophotometer, AA spectrometer, FTIR spectrophotometer, isothermal/isoperibol microcalorimeter, flow microcalorimeter, potentiostats, turbidimeter, surface tensiometers, electrophoresis apparatus, ellipsometers, surface force analyzer, atomic force microscope, and Langmuir trough.
  • Mine Surveying Laboratory: The Mine Surveying Laboratory houses nine total stations, six levels, and associated equipment including tapes, tripods, reflector prisms and rods.
  • Mine Ventilation Laboratory: The facilities in the mine ventilation laboratory include three scaled wind tunnels, fans and various equipment for ventilation air monitoring including analog and digital manometers, methane detectors and anemometers. An additional tunnel is fully instrumented with fan control by PLC and injection and sampling ports for tracer gas experiments.

Research Centers

The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering is home to two acclaimed research centers, i.e., Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) and the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (CAST). The centers offer students access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment in these specific focus areas.

Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (CAST) - CAST is a consortium of five universities whose goal is to develop advanced technologies that can be used to produce clean solid, liquid and gaseous fuels from domestic energy resources in an efficient and environmentally acceptable manner. Current member institutions are Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, University of Kentucky, University of Utah and Montana Tech. CAST has funded more than 100 projects at seven universities. More information about this center can be obtained at www.cast.mining.vt.edu.

Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) - VCCER serves as an interdisciplinary study, research, information and resource facility for the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCCER involves five primary functions: (i) Research in interdisciplinary energy and coal-related issues of interest to the Commonwealth, (ii) Coordination of coal and energy research at Virginia Tech, (iii) Dissemination of coal and energy research information and data to users in the Commonwealth, (iv) examination of socio-economic implications related to energy and coal development and associated environmental impacts, and (v) assist Commonwealth of Virginia in implementing the Commonwealth's energy plan. The center has offices in the main Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, the National Capital Region Office in Alexandria, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. More information about this center can be obtained at www.energy.vt.edu.

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