In Mining Engineering, three major areas of study that are available include rock mechanics, rock blasting and vibration control, and environmental aspects. Rock mechanics research includes the development of new testing methodology to evaluate the behavior of rock around underground excavations. Environmental control of mine wastes, mine waste characterization remediation. Design of waste-site facilities.
In Geotechnical Engineering, on-going studies include rock and soil mechanics, instrumentation, foundation design and slope stability. Major projects include the slope stability of mine rock piles, monitoring and evaluation of highway slopes, and the development of deformation instrumentation for the application to underground and surface rock and soil movements. New Mexico Tech researchers work closely with the state highway department, cities and counties to develop new methods to analyze geotechnical problems.
The application of explosives for the fragmentation of rock and military and commercial applications is an area of research for which New Mexico Tech has a long history. The Department is active in fragmentation studies and works closely with industry in the areas of ground vibration and airblast control. Research in blast effects involve studies both at the source, by evaluating geologic structures, and at structures, by measuring structure response. In addition, blast induced damage in the vicinity of the blast is studied and correlated with fragmentation and blast design parameters. Students have many opportunities to work in the field while others prefer to conduct research in computer modeling of detonations, forensics, and development of shape charges.
The undergraduate curriculum provides a strong foundation in science (chemistry, physics, and geology), math, and engineering science and includes basic engineering principles and fundamentals in applied engineering design concepts. Junior and senior courses provide concentrated studies in the mechanics and control of earth materials; mineral explorations, evaluation, and economics; environmental issues; and the design and operation of surface and underground mines.
Engineering design is introduced in courses covering surface and underground mining, ventilation, mineral processing, equipment selection, drilling and blasting, soil and rock mechanics, engineering aspects of surface and ground water, and geomechanics. Instruction in environmental aspects of project development and mineral production includes mine permitting and reclamation as well as legal and regulatory issues in the use of natural resources.
A large-scale design project is undertaken in the senior year. The project integrates engineering principles and design in one of three areas: economic evaluation and exploration for mineral properties, design and planning of mining projects, the planning and implementation of geotechnical construction projects such as a solid waste landfill, tailings impoundment, earth dam, and structures, or the control of blasting vibrations through carefully designed drilling and blasting.
Graduate studies are offered at New Mexico Tech in areas of specialization. We strive to pursue practical research projects that are founded on basic science in collaboration with industry. Students are taught advanced laboratory and fields techniques. In addition, analytical and computer skills are enhanced on the graduate level. Faculty work, for the most part, in teams and often work with faculty and researchers at other Universities and National Laboratories. The sharing of knowledge beings diversity and breadth to our focus on applied research. Hence, our students are prepared to be leaders in industry