Fundamental Analysis Of The Interaction Between Overburden Behaviour And Snook Stability In Coalmines

Merwe, J. N. van der
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
In the process of pillar extraction, pillars are seldom if ever extracted completely. The pillar remnants, or snooks, play an important role in the extraction process. At the working face, they need to be stable to provide a measure of support in the immediate area. Further back, they have to fail in a controlled manner to prevent undue load build-up on the pillars that have not yet been extracted. The stability condition at the working area is the result of interaction between the stability of the pillar and that of the roof rock. It is shown that the primary mode of roof layer failure is by bending induced tension. Direct tension can be excluded in most practical conditions, and only in exceptional cases will the first failure be in shear mode. Panel spans required to cause the first goaf to be formed, predicted using analytical considerations, are of the same order as has been observed in practice. Once the first goaf has formed, the horizontal stress is reduced and failure will occur at more frequent intervals. It is shown that bending induced tension is the most likely mode of failure in an unjointed roof layer. In roof layers with a high frequency of weak or uncemented jointing, failure can be expected to occur at spans equal to the joint spacing. In this context, failure will occur at the smallest of the spans required to induce tensile roof failure and the joint spacing. A fundamental procedure to evaluate the likely roof layer failure in a stacked beam system is developed. This can to be used to estimate the loading condition on snooks. It is shown that snooks assist in stabilizing the immediate roof beam. The sizes and positions of the snooks relative to the position of the next pillar to be stooped, control the magnitude of the contribution to stability. The further the snook is from the next pillar, and the larger it is, the greater the contribution to the stability of the immediate roof. Under the condition of loading by the immediate, continuous roof beam, the position and size of a single snook controls the load acting on it. The closer it is to the nearest solid, provided that the roof overhang extends beyond the snook, the greater the load on it. However, once the immediate roof beam fails, the loading conditions change. The snook is then loaded by the tributary area load. A procedure is developed to assess the condition of snooks for different situations. Using the fundamental considerations developed in this paper, snooks can be designed to be stable during the active mining phase in their immediate vicinity, but to fail once the next line of pillars has been extracted.
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