Since 1974 there has been a place for any student wanting to do research work in the field of excavation here at the Colorado School of Mines in the form of the Excavation Engineering and Earth Mechanics Institute (EMI). The institute’s extensive laboratory and computing facilities were opened its laboratory to the general public for an open house during Alumni Weekend. The open house allowed visitors to view laboratory testing equipment as well as talk with staff and student researchers about the work they are currently doing.
The facilities include eight laboratories for the testing of rock and soil properties: the rock mechanics laboratory for test a large variety of physical properties of rocks, the linear cutting machine which provides a measure of rock cuttability with the ability to simulate any number of field conditions, the drill test fixture which is used to test the performance of drill bits and cutterheads up to three feet in diameter, the laboratory tunnel boring machine which is used to test cutterheads that are up to seven feet in diameter similar to the drill test fixture, the rotary cutting machine which tests cutter bits for performance and durability under both unassisted and water jet assisted conditions, the rotary-percussion rock drill facility which evaluates roof drills and bits, the water jet machine which can drill and slot rock rapidly, and the cutter-bearing test fixture which is used to test roller cutters under simulated field conditions ranging from humidity to temperature to dust.
More information on the EMI can be found on its website at emi.mine.edu. The website contains technical papers, information detailing current and past projects, descriptions of available research, as well as information on the multitude of short courses and conferences as pertaining to tunnelling and mining work the institute is involved in. Information can also be received through the Department of Mining Engineering, of which the EMI is under, as well by contacting the EMI’s manager, Brian Asbury, whose contact information can be found on the EMI website. The EMI’s laboratory building is located at 1500 Illinois Street directly past the lock shop and geology museum.