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Three-dimensional visualization of methane concentration distribution in tunnels to increase underground safety

Nago, Makito*; Motoshima, Takayuki*; Miyakawa, Kazuya  ; Kanie, Shunji*; Sanoki, Satoru*

This study presents a new approach to increase construction safety under methane inflow conditions by providing the three-dimensional concentration distribution of methane in underground structures. The study was conducted at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory, which is located in Neogene sedimentary rock where groundwater contains dissolved methane. As conventional gas sensors are confined to measurement at a single point in time and space, a new system was developed combining a laser methane detector and a laser range finder to effectively obtain the spatial concentration distribution of methane. This system was tested in tunnel galleries located at a depth of 350 m. The results show that this system is effective for identifying unpredicted methane emissions as well as predicted emission hotspots and for examining the validity of the ventilation scheme, which ensures construction safety.

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