Analysis of NOx Blast Fumes with Drones

Principal Investigator(s)

Emmett Ientilucci

Research Team Members

Bob Kremens, Nina Raqueno, Tim Bauch, Nelmy Robles-Serrano 

Project Description

Austin Powder manufactures, distributes, and applies industrial explosives for industries including quarrying, mining, construction, and other applications.  Although it’s unusual, these massive explosions can release a foreboding yellowish-orange cloud that is often an indicator of nitrogen oxides—commonly abbreviated NOx.  Austin Powder is seeking research into the ability to image these plumes so as to potentially estimate volume and concentration.  The ultimate goal would be to image this plumes in the field with multiple drones. 

We have explored the usage of structure from motion to image 3D objects, run experiments to estimate volume of 3D solid objects, explored the usage of multiple cameras to capture image of a still object.  We are currently working on a GPS mechanism for camera triggering along with moving towards actual plumes.  We are utilizing smoke grenades as surrogate for spatial imaging.

Figures and Images

Figure 1

 Shown is a yellowish-orange NOx cloud released, on rare occasions, by quarry and mine blasts.