Constraint Is The Prime Variable In Pillar Strength

Babcock, Clarence O.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1984
Since Vicat in 1833, the width to height ratio of a mine pillar has been taken as the fundamental variable in pillar design. From work in the laboratory by many investigators testing rock, Coal and concrete samples, it has been concluded by some that pillars with a width to height ratio of 10 to 1 are indestructible. It has also been concluded that a constrained core exists within the pillar which increases the pillar strength. The role of the roof and floor, if mentioned at all, is often noted in an incidental way. In the present work on laboratory testing of model pillars on concrete, coal, and rock instrumented with special strain gages, it was concluded that the end constraint and not the width to height ratio is the significant variable in determining the pillar strength. In tests where the end constraint is steel, a large compressive stress is produced on the horizontal plane of the pillar, and this effect increases as the width to height ratio is increased, resulting in an increase in pillar strength. If the end constraint is not steel but something with a small Young's modulus, the state of stress in the horizontal plane may be tensile, increasing as the width to height ratio increases, resulting in a decrease in pillar strength. Related to mining, the results are that a large width to height ratio pillar is strong for strong roof and floor and weak for weak roof and floor. That is, the roof and floor and not the width to height ratio determine the pillar strength. The confined core condition should be verified by testing if large pillars are to be used. If there is no confined core or the pillar is in tension, smaller pillar sizes should be used. The final conclusion is that the geometry alone is meaningless in pillar design.
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