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Instrumented King Wire for Monitoring Cable Bolts; CDC NIOSH Technology News
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  • Description:
    Objective A cable bolt can be a strain-measuring device as well as a supporting device in underground mines. Placing instruments on a cable bolt allows certain characteristics of a rock mass, such as high strain and load, to he evaluated during mining and provides a means for mining engineers and mine inspectors to forecast a potential roof fall. Background Thousands of cable bolts are installed in U.S. mines each year. Studies performed by NIOSH researchers show that support loads can exceed the yield point of the steel, which can result in unstable ground conditions that pose direct safety hazards for underground workers. Rock falls can also create secondary hazards, such as caved escape ways and blocked ventilation passages. Development of methods and tools to assist in the evaluation and selection of rock supports could reduce the number of unplanned rock falls significantly. Approach Instrumented cable bolts developed at NIOSH’s Spokane Research Laboratory were used along with existing ground control systems to monitor rock mass loads and movement Axial and shear loads on the cables are determined as these loads are transferred to strain gages embedded in the king wire. In longwall, room-and-pillar, or underhand cut-and-fill mines, rock mass loads and movements can be detected down to microstrains of stress or millimeters of movement. By detecting such small amounts of ground movement and support load, early intervention to prevent a roof fall is possible, and miner safety and health are increased. How it Works Up to 10 strain gages are embedded in the king wire at whatever locations a mine ground control engineer may specify. The gages m either be set in pairs in the same plane to detect shear or set at 90° angles to detect loading in three dimensions. The cables are up to 5 meters long if they arc to be grouted with resin or up to 15 meters: if they will be grouted with cement. They arc capable of holding m ultimate lend of 214 kN and produce reliable readings to 178 kN, as shown in the calibration curve. The cables are fitted with an instrument plug for monitoring the gages and a special head for insertion into the rock. A data acquisition system, such as a Vishay strain indicator box, Campbell Scientific, or Omnidata system, is required to obtain the data for load and displacement calculations.

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