Laboratory Testing of Rib Straps

Kroeger, E. Bane
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Rib failure is a hazard that has resulted in many injuries and fatalities in underground coal mines, especially in soft coal seams. Conventional rib control methods including rib boarding, shotcreting. steel meshing and geogridding, are fairly expensive and time consuming to install. Some methods, such as rib boarding, have met with marginal success at controlling rib failure. Under this research, the Rib Strap System (RSS) introduced by Dr. Chugh in 1999, was modified and new components were added. Both bench scale and full size prototypes were tested in the labs at SIUC to determine the best materials for fabrication and easier methods for assembly and installation. This laboratory research has developed new methods of securing the strap ends to smaller rib hoards, a new device to post-tension two straps together, and a technique for replacing straps without having to drill new rib bolts or for retrofitting straps to rib hoards that are already in place. The method used to secure the strap end to rib boards developed during bench-scale testing was dubbed the wrapped staple technique. It is very simple, requiring only 10-15 staples, with the end of a strap secured to a rib board in about 45 seconds. Several different prototype designs for a new device to join the strap ends together and tension the strap were fabricated and tested in the labs at SIUC. The device, dubbed the rib strap buckle, was very easy to install and held the straps firmly. One specific buckle design worked extremely well during testing and exceeded all expectations. The laboratory research also developed a method of replacing a damaged rib strap that can also be used to add rib straps to existing rib boards. The technique uses nails, spacer blocks, and band clamps to secure the new board and strap. This technique was developed to allow one person to replace a strap using only a hammer and screwdriver, negating the need to drill and install a new rib bolt using mine equipment such as a roof bolter or scoop. In addition to the technical feasibility, the cost of materials for the rib strap system was compared to the rib boarding method currently being used at a mine in the Illinois Basin. The mine is using 20 rib boards on each pillar at cost of about $223.60. The costs for the rib strap system depend on the materials chosen for fabrication but for the base case, were about $97 per pillar.
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