The Design Of Tunnel Support In Deep Hard-Rock Mines Under Quasistatic Conditions
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1996
The induced elastic stresses in the sidewalls of gold-mining tunnels at a depth of 4000 m in the Witwatersrand exceed the peak compressive strength of even the best-quality quartzite rocks. Laboratory tests measuring post-yield stress versus strain response show that brittle fracture occurs, followed by a loss in strength associated with strain-softening behaviour. Numerical modeling based on an assumed Mohr-Coulomb criterion fitted to the test results shows that large ongoing deformations of the sidewall occur, leading to total tunnel failure without adequate support. A methodology is presented to enable a quick assessment to be made of support requirements in terms of ground characteristic curves for numerically derived pressure versus displacement. From these curves, estimates can be made of the force levels for cable bolting and of the thickness and strength requirements for shotcrete linings. As an example of its application, the methodology is used in a comparison of the relative stability efficiencies of a square-shaped tunnel and a horizontal ellipse-shaped tunnel.