RQD from the Barrel to the Box: Weatherability May be a Better indicator for Roof Support Design

Unrug, Kot
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
For the purposes of underground mine design, twelve cores of the Springfield (V) Coal (Pennsylvanian) roof and floor were retrieved. Each core was photographed, described fresh in the barrel, and the rock quality designation (RQD) was measured. Cores were wrapped in plastic and delivered to the rock mechanics lab. At the lab RQD was remeasured and new photographs were taken before running geotechnical tests including weatherability. Significant differences in barrel RQD's vs. lab RQD's have been noticed in spite of careful handling. The drill site RQD is generally used to calculate geotechnical results, but in some types of coal measure rocks, further fragmentation of core takes place with slight changes of moisture content, which occur even in well wrapped core. This creates a dilemma which RQD should be used for support design. Rocks around excavations are exposed to the significant changes in moisture content due to the seasonal weather changes and related fluctuation of humidity of air ventilating a mine. Therefore, it appears to be more realistic using laboratory RQD which corresponds closer to the actual rock condition around the excavation. Weatherability test, developed for characterization of time dependent behavior of rock exposed to fluctuations in moisture content, is thought to be related to the above-mentioned changes of RQD. In weak shales, mudstones and claystones which weather rapidly, it is essential to characterize their future behavior in the pre-mining stage. This can allow for a realistic design of primary, and particularly secondary support in coal mines, especially in coal fields where such geologic conditions exist.
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