An Investigation into the Support Systems in South African Collieries
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 2005
An investigation into the performance of support systems that are currently used in South African coal mines was conducted. Five most critical components of a support system have been identified. These components are resin, bolt, hole, machinery/equipment and the rock type. All five of these components are equally important as failure in any of these components will result in an inadequate support system. The performance of resin used in South Africa was investigated through in situ short encapsulated pull tests. The results indicated that in the majority of pull tests, failure took place at the rock-resin interface, indicating that the rock failed before the resin shear strength had been reached. It is therefore concluded that the strength of resin currently used in South Africa is adequate. It is found that although the maximum bond strengths achieved form both resin suppliers were similar, there was a considerable difference in the stiffhess of the resins. Roof bolt diameters and rib heights of bolts from three major manufacturers were evaluated (approximately 80 roof bolts from each manufacturer). The results showed there is a significant variation in bolt diameters and rib heights in the same batch in roof bolts supplied by certain manufacturers. The results also showed that on average there are insignificant differences between the parameters that determine the bolt profile (rib angle, spacing between the ribs and rib thickness). The influence of these parameters on bolt performance was very small and could not be established in situ. Roof bolts from four major suppliers were also evaluated through in situ short encapsulated pull tests. The results showed that the reinforcing system using roof bolts from all four manufacturers performed almost identically in sandstone, but somewhat differently in other rock types. The effect of bit types was evaluated. Both the stresses and the maximum loads obtained from the two-prong bits were greater than those obtained from a spade bit. Borehole annulus was found to be another important parameter that determined the support performance, and was investigated. The results from these tests showed that an annulus between 2.8 mm 4.5 mm resulted in the highest bond strengths. The results also showed that as the annulus drops below 2 mm, it appears to have a negative effect on the bond strength. The effect of wet and dry drilling on support performance was investigated. The results showed that wet drilling can-provide relatively greater system stiffnesses and slightly greater bond strengths. Short encapsulated pull test results showed very distinct differences between bolt system performance in different rock types and that sandstone produces significantly better results than shale and coal. From the results it is concluded that rock type is probably the primary factor influencing support system performance. A detailed investigation into the specifications of roofbolters that are currently being used indicated that the quality of installation of a support system is directly related to the performance of the equipment that is used to install the bolts. The important parameters, torque, thrust and speed of bolting equipment were investigated. The results showed that there are significant variations in these parameters in South African roofbolters.