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Field Test With Strain-Gauged Friction Bolts At The Gold Hunter Mine, Mullan, Idaho, USA
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    To measure the loading behavior of friction bolts, researchers at the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) installed strain gauges on the interior of friction bolts and developed a battery-powered miniature data acquisition system (MIDAS) that fits inside the hollow portion of the friction bolt. The advantages of this system are that it is protected from face blasts and eliminates the need for external wiring. Laboratory pull-out tests showed that friction bolts installed in a concrete block with resin were loaded to about 1.8 tons/ft of bolt length; bolts installed without resin were loaded to 1.3 tons/ft. Three strain-gauged friction bolts were installed at Hecla Mining Company’s Gold Hunter Mine, Mullan, ID, in the wall or rib of a mechanized cut-and-fill stope. The object of these tests was to establish an installation procedure for the bolt-and-MIDAS combination and to evaluate performance. The stope was advanced in three 15-ft increments and strains induced in the rock bolts by stress changes in the rock were recorded every 30 minutes. The MIDAS proved to be rugged enough to withstand the shock and vibration from nearby (5 ft) face blasting. Data from MIDAS showed that the friction bolt installed with resin was the most sensitive to each face advance. It showed a steady increase in loading to a maximum value of 1000 microstrain. The friction bolt installed without resin showed stick-slip behavior with loads to a maximum of 400 microstrain before the stope was completed.

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