Yoginder Chugh (Mining 1961) receives patent for mining device
@ Feb 13, 2011
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(Chronicle note: Dr. Yoginder P Chugh is a Professor in Mining & Mineral Resources Engineering Department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois.)



SIUC professor receives patent for mining device

By Tim Crosby, For The Southern thesouthern.com |

Posted: Sunday, February 6, 2011 12:00 am

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 Yoginder ‘Paul’ Chugh, professor of mining and mineral resources engineering in the College of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, shows off models of his innovative mine roof bracing system known as Atlas Cribs.(Courtesy SIU MEDIA SERVICES)

CARBONDALE - A Southern Illinois University Carbondale mining engineer’s invention has received a patent from the federal government, clearing the way to market the engineered cribbing devices to mines all over the United States.

Yoginder “Paul” Chugh, professor of mining and mineral resources engineering in the College of Engineering, along with several others, designed the Atlas Cribs as a better, cheaper and more efficient way to brace ceilings in underground mines.

The Atlas Cribs are simple but specially designed stackable wood braces that are lighter and stronger than conventional wooden blocks used by miners for centuries. The product has undergone several years of testing and use in three coal mines in the area, where it performed well.

The U.S. Patent Office issued the patent late last year, which will provide financial and intellectual protection for the University and Chugh. With three area manufacturers onboard, and a western Kentucky mine equipment supply company distributing the product, Chugh said the product has moved to the next phase.

“We are by and large out of the testing phase and into the marketing and commercialization phase. It has been tested enough that nobody should have any qualms about using them,” said Chugh, who along with former miners Harrold Gurley, John Pulliam and Bill Bell, worked on the design. “Our goal this year is to try to market our cribs in a big way.”

Traditionally, miners relied on heavy cross-laid 6-inch by 6-inch beams to brace mine roofs. Atlas Cribs, however, offer big advantages over this 200-year-old method.

Atlas Cribs are comprised of a mix of hardwoods and include a main lateral element made from a board with shorter boards nailed on both sides at both ends. The engineered braces are much lighter than the traditional wood miners use now, making it easier for the miners to handle and stack them.

A single crib piece weighs about 18 pounds, which is about half what a traditional 6-by-6 timber crib weighs.

The open design also makes it easier to circulate air around the cribs, which cuts down on the major operating cost of circulating fresh air. The system is also stronger than traditional methods, with its strength derived from several design factors. First, the contact areas -the area where the braces touch each other and the load is actually borne -are equivalent to the traditional systems. This area is about 6 inches square.

Also, the shorter boards that are nailed to both sides of both ends of the lateral board are cut and positioned so that their grain runs vertically between the roof above and the floor of the mine. This axial grain orientation is much stronger than a parallel one.

The crib braces are made from hardwoods including oak, sycamore, poplar and hickory. They come in several sizes - Atlas 100, 200 and 300 — with various numbers of contact areas that allow for different cribbing configurations depending on the situation, adding flexibility to the dynamic arena of underground mining.

Sunrise Mining Co. in Indiana, American Coal Co. in Galatia and the Willow Lake Mine in Southern Illinois have all tested Atlas Cribs, Chugh said. Three Southern Illinois companies have signed on to build them, Chugh said.

Tim Crosby is a staff writer with University Communications at SIUC.


Yoginder P. Chugh, Professor and Director, Combustion Byproducts

Recycling Consortium- Midwestern Region

1230 Lincoln Drive

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6603

Tel: 618-201-3675 (m), 618-453-7922(O)

Fax: 618-453-7455

E-mail: ypchugh1940@gmail.com

Home page of Prof. Chugh on SUIC website


Southern Illinois University Home Page: http://www.siuc.edu/





A professional with 47 years of experience, Chugh earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 1961 at the Banaras Hindu University in India. He earned his Master of Science degree in 1968 and doctorate in mining engineering in 1971 at Pennsylvania State University.

Chugh joined the SIUC faculty in 1977.

A former chair of the mining and mineral resources engineering department, Chugh three times received its Outstanding Department Teaching Award. He also received College Outstanding Teacher Award in 2009. He was awarded College’s Outstanding Scholar Award in 2005 and College’s Outstanding Faculty Member Award in 2007.  In 2009, he also received the Rock Mechanics Award and the Howard N. Eavenson Award from the Society of Mining Engineers.

Education of Prof. Yoginder P. Chugh

*B. Sc in Mining Engineering at Institute of technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (1961)

*MS in Mining Engineering at Penn State University (1968)

*Ph. D. in Mining Engineering at Penn State University (1971)


Additional links:

*Yoginder Paul Chugh for task force on "Sustainable Use of Coal in China"


*List of research publications of Prof. Chugh


Prof. Chugh receives Awards from The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration


New Technology Will Enhance Coal Mine Safety


Peaking Oil Production Facts and Challenges Production- Facts and Challenges




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