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Rock Mass Classification In German Hard-Coal Mining: Standards And Application; Proceedings Of The International Workshop On Rock Mass Classification In Underground Mining
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    INTRODUCTION The classification system for German coal mining is the result of approximately 100 years of experience in roadway development and longwall mining. It is also based on different research projects covered by national and European research programs. Over the past 30 years, more then 600,000 m of road-ways have been driven and employed for mining activities. To properly describe the German rock mass classification system, therefore, it is useful to take a look at the main geomechanical preferences and common support systems. The decision about the most effective development technique and support system is based on a synthesis of rock mass classification and geomechanical analysis. The properties of surrounding rock, the in situ stress, and the influence of mining activities in several seams at each German mine must be considered for the evaluation of the expected deformation of the roadway. The mine layout, the requirements of ventilation and fire prevention, as well as the need to maintain emergency escape routes for the miners, require that the gate roads remain usable after the passage of the longwall face in most cases. Moreover, the gate roads must be maintained despite the high stresses that are applied during longwall retreat mining. Therefore, gate road design must address a broad spectrum of potential deformation environments. In the past, when gate roads were supported solely with yielding steel arches, lithologic descriptions of the surrounding strata conditions were adequate for the dimensioning of support and the prediction of the roadway deformation. The current conditions of multiple-seam mining at depths of up to 1,700 m require combined support systems, including pattern bolting and backfilled steel arches. Rock bolt support is used for development, after which (typically 50-100 m outby the face) the steel arches are installed and backfilled with building material (concrete) in order to achieve an optimized development rate. The rock mass classification system described below was developed especially for the conditions of German hard-coal mining. It includes the stress distribution caused by multiseam workings (including crossing goaf edges of former longwalls), as well as in situ stresses due to greatdepth and the presence of tectonic faults. It is based on the evaluation of four parameters: • Geotechnical analysis of drill cores • Geotechnical observation of the development face • Geotechnical classification of tectonic structures (faults) • Standard classification derived from geotechnical assessment and evaluation of stress conditions (using numerical modeling for stress calculation) ROCK STRENGTH One of the most important input parameters for describing strata conditions is the strength of the rock. The German classification system is based on a description of lithotypes. This method has been used successfully since the 1950s and is based mainly on the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) of the material. An evaluation of the rock strength observed in a survey of approximately 82,500 samples of rock core yielded the results shown in Figure 1. The three most common coal measure rock types are mudstone, siltstone, and sandstone. Each shows a specific mean UCS level and a different spread between the minimum and maximum values. Sandstones, in particular, have a wide spectrum of compressive strength, ranging from approximately 40 MPa to greater than 130 MPa, with an average of 85 MPa. The causes of this wide range include different sedimento-logical preconditions, facies, and digenetic processes. [ ]

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