Coal Pillar Design For Longwall Gate Entries; Proceedings Of The Second International Workshop On Coal Pillar Mechanics And Design
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Coal Pillar Design For Longwall Gate Entries; Proceedings Of The Second International Workshop On Coal Pillar Mechanics And Design

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      This paper describes measured data on strata behavior obtained in recent years from sites in the United Kingdom and the implications for pillar design. The data include results from overcoring stress measurements adjacent to coal mine roadways and deformation monitoring related to longwall extraction. The stresses adjacent to mine roadways or entries have been measured at a number of coal mine sites in the United Kingdom. The results are analyzed with regard to the information they provide on pillar behavior and strength estimates. A reduction in stress consistent with yielding of the strata adjacent to the roadways is evident. This is consistent with the confined core model for pillar behavior. The pillar strength is dependent on the rate atwhich vertical stress can increase with distance from the pillar edge and hence the confinement provided to the yielded material. The measured data indicate a wide range in pillar strengths. Two groups of results are identified that show significantly different behavior corresponding to differing effective pillar strengths. Estimates of pillar strengths derived from the measured data for these two groups are compared with established equations used for pillar design. The differing behaviors and strengths are attributed to variations in the amount of yielding and deformation in roof and floor strata and hence in the amount of confinement they provide to the coal seam. Numerical modeling is used to provide a comparison with the measured data and to indicate that this provides a feasible mechanism to account for the measured data. As the depth of mining increases, pillars tend to become increasingly wide and squat. In such cases, it is possible for the surrounding roadways to become badly deformed and damaged while the pillars remain stable. The criteria of comparing pillar strengths and loads to establish pillar stability become less applicable in these circumstances; rather, considerations of roadway stability may be the limiting factor in determining suitable pillar dimensions. This is the case for pillar dimensions typically employed around longwall panels in the United Kingdom. Depending on the properties of the site and what are deemed to be satisfactory roadway conditions, this can lead to wide variations in required pillar dimensions. Measured data for deformations in roadways influenced by adjoining longwall workings are presented. These show that in some circumstances the influence of longwall extraction can be transmitted over large distances and confirm the variability in required pillar sizes depending on site properties.
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