Test Method for Assessing Water Degradation Potential of Coal Measure Rocks for Analyses of Floor, Roof, and Ribs

Hasenfus, G. J.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
There are no known published methods of estimating the degradation of coal measure rocks by water that are simple and efficient, yet still provide a quantitative, meaningful value for assessing the stability of coal mine floor, roof, and rib. The slake durability test, the standard index method for estimating the durability of rock subject to wetting, can provide misleading results for floor stability assessment. Additionally, slake durability testing is time consuming and requires specialty equipment. Methods based on humidity cycling have been demonstrated to be very effective for assessing coal mine roof, but require specialty equipment and do not address floor stability concerns. Visual observation techniques, such as that developed for the Coal Mine Roof Rating (CMRR) method, adequately qualify rock degradation, but lack quantitative rigor. This paper will describe an alternative method, coined the water sensitivity test, originally developed for floor stability analyses, but also found applicable for roof and rib stability assessment. The test was developed by CONSOL in the early 1990's, and in its current form, has been in use for approximately twelve years. The method is based on the basic slake durability principle of measuring the mass of the rock retained on a screen after submersion in water. The new test employs two screens of different sizes, and also uses modified submersion, drying, and data processing procedures. The method is relatively efficient and can be geared toward batched testing. As with the slake durability test, the resulting index value provides a quantitative measure of the susceptibility of rock to water degradation. In addition to discussing the test method and its development, this paper provides a comparison of results with those fiom standard slake durability tests, and tabulated results for various types of coal measure rocks. Examples of the technique's utility are provided, including assessment of longwall and development floor conditions, roof and rib rock weathering and stability, and drum-bit cutability.
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