Effects of In-seam and Near-seam Conditions and Asymmetric Pillar Loading on Coal Pillar Strength

Su, Daniel W.H.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1997
The importance of incorporating fundamental principles of rock material response and failure mechanics into a pillar strength design model has been demonstrated. To accurately assess pillar strength, a model should account not only for the characteristics of the coal, but also for those of the surrounding strata. The interactions between the pillar and the surrounding roof and floor dictate ultimate pillar strength. Confinement, or the lack thereof, provided by roof and floor frictional end-constraint is one of the most significant factors in the strength of very wide pillars. The best conditions for end-constraint occur with ideally strong roof and floor. In this paper, it will be shown that weak roof and floor may decrease the ultimate pillar strength by as much as 30% compared to ideal conditions. Field observations confirm this pillar strength reduction in the presence of weak roof and floor. Furthermore, rock partings within the coal have a variable effect on pillar strength, depending on the parting strength. A competent shale parting within the coal reduces the effective pillar height, thus increasing the ultimate pillar strength; a weak claystone parting slightly decreases the strength. Imposed load distribution also has a significant effect on pillar strength, such that asymmetric pillar loading, similar to that observed in pillars adjacent to high extraction mining, reduces the ultimate pillar strength below that of equivalent pillars subject to uniform load distributions.
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