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Hydraulic Prestressing Units: An Innovation In Roof Support Technology
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    A new generation of hydraulic mine support prestressing devices has been developed. These thin-walled steel shells are machine-welded and can be inflated with water or any liquid to provide prestressing for a wide variety of roof support products ranging from Can supports to props and cable bolts. With an expansion capability of several inches, depending on the geometry and size of the unit, they can also establish roof contact eliminating the need for wooden wedges or crib blocks that are commonly employed with several standing roof support products. Capable of withstanding pressures from 1,000 to 6,000 psi, these cells are able to transfer roof loading into the support structure without rupturing. A recent development has been the addition of an inexpensive yield valve that provides control of the maximum pressure and load development on the support. This paper examines the performance capabilities of these inflatable prestressing units and the impact they have on the performance of various support systems, including an evaluation of the overall stiffness of the support system and the load control during yielding of the prestressing unit. Recommendations are made regarding the design requirements of the prestressing unit to optimize the support performance. A summary of mine applications using this technology is provided with general comments regarding their impact on ground control.

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