Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to South Dakota Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

South Dakota Mines
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493

Research@Mines

Research@Mines

Research at Mines happens every day of the year, involves faculty and students at every academic level, and frequently includes collaboration across the state, the nation and the globe.

South Dakota Mines Constructs Living Laboratory on Campus

Andrew Ferris, Mines civil and environmental engineering graduate student, unrolls hay cover being placed on one of the test plots in the living laboratory during construction in the Spring of 2021.

South Dakota Mines is home to a new living laboratory that is located on a hill above the main campus. This long-term study will help students and the community understand how vegetation and ground cover impacts soil erosion, water quality, ecosystems and our shared natural resources.

The study area is a steep exposure of the Belle Fourche Shale rock formation that had been a problem area for erosion and contained little-to-no vegetation. The living laboratory includes over 20 small plots in a grid that have different erosion control treatments, ranging from engineered products to low-tech solutions such as hay cover or mulch. Each treatment option was designed and built by undergraduate student researchers with the assistance of faculty and instructors. The study is funded by the West Dakota Water Development District (WDWDD). The elected board is one of seven water development districts in the state, organized for the purpose of promoting conservation, development and management of resources.

Each year, students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will collect data on the treatments laid out in the living laboratory. Over the coming years, the data collected by students wi...

Last Edited 7/21/2021 02:00:48 PM [Comments (0)]

Mines Team Develops Virtual Reality Hazard Awareness Training Program

Clint Kling, a doctoral graduate student in the Department of Mining Engineering and Management at South Dakota Mines, is shown here testing a virtual reality training system he helped develop to improve safety in industrial settings.

Underground and surface mines can be hazardous places, so when it comes to safety training in the mining profession, the old saying “practice makes perfect” holds true. To improve hazard safety instruction, a team at South Dakota Mines has spent the past year developing a virtual reality (VR) training module that mimics a mining environment.

“We are using new technologies combined with neuroscience to help people learn faster and more effectively,” says Clint Kling, a mining engineering doctoral graduate student who is currently working on the project under the guidance of Associate Professor Purushotham Tukkaraja, Ph.D., in collaboration with the company Motive.io. The research is funded by the United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) with a grant of $100,000.

The VR hazard awareness training is designed for new and inexperienced miners and will be available in English or Spanish. It will be conducted alongside the already existing MSHA training program at South Dakota Mines, the local mine sites, and will also be used in MSHA’s refresher training courses. The team plans to develop this program at the local level to establish good results before a national rollout. The researchers are also taking their ideas to the marketplace. They are ready to collaborate with any industry partners such as mining, construction, or general industry to develop...

Last Edited 6/1/2021 03:47:42 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines Professor Reflects on IceCube’s 10th Anniversary and Discoveries at the South Pole

Dr. Xinhua Bai, associate professor of physics at South Dakota Mines shown here at the South Pole (seated lower right) during his research in 1998. Dr. Bai is among a group of scientists whose work helped establish the international IceCube Collaboration, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.

Ten years ago, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory fully opened its eyes for the first time, the eyes that allow curious scientists to “see” signals from passing astrophysical neutrinos: mysterious, tiny, extremely lightweight particles created by some of the most energetic and distant phenomena in the cosmos. IceCube is a gigantic three-dimensional detector for high energy cosmic rays, whose origins remained unknown, after they were discovered over a century ago.

South Dakota Mines associate professor of physics, Xinhua Bai, Ph.D., is among the original “dreamers,” which included a few dozen scientists, who helped start the international IceCube Collaboration. Today, the diverse group of researchers includes over 350 scientists from 53 institutions in 12 countries and five continents.

“I was extremely lucky to be one of the early scientists on this collaboration. After I received my Ph.D., driven by my curiosity, I started as a winter over scientist for the Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array and the South Pole Air Shower Experiment  in 1998.” Bai says. “The...

Last Edited 5/13/2021 04:23:50 PM [Comments (0)]

High Impact Hardrocker: Frank Aplan

Frank Aplan, one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University.

An Appreciation by Douglas W. Fuerstenau and Raja V. Raman

Frank Fulton Aplan graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1948 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and went on to become one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. Aplan, was who was also a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University, passed away peacefully at Berwick, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. His association with the mineral engineering profession had many dimensions – an engineer, a scientist, a manager of research, and a teacher to name a few, and his performance in each of these roles, simply outstanding.  Most of all, Frank was an outstanding human being, brilliant, dedicated, gritty, hardworking and demanding. He expected excellence from himself, and from everyone else. All his friends have learned many lessons to accept and deal with adversity from Frank's four difficult but successful campaigns against cancer. He was a warm and friendly person who assuredly provided wise counsel and a helping hand.  Frank often said that “no man is an island. There is a half dozen or more people that probably helped you along career. I guess that my philosophy is that often you cannot pay back but you can pay forward…. that is why I've gone out of my way to recommend all kinds of people for awards and honors and so forth and I try to give generously to cha...

Last Edited 4/27/2021 02:54:27 PM [Comments (0)]