Prevention/Control of Surface Structural Damage

Peng, Syd S. ; Centofanti, K. ; Luo, Yi ; Ma, W. M. ; Su, Daniel W. H. ; Zhong, W. L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 16
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
6.1 INTRODUCTION A surface structure will suffer damage when the additional stresses induced by ground deformations associated with surface subsidence, plus the original stress introduced by construction de¬sign, exceed the strength of the structural elements. In this con¬text, there are two methods available for preventing and control¬ling surface structural damage: one is to strengthen the structure and the other is to design the mining operations such that ground deformations at the structure site can be reduced to an acceptable level. Mining operations include panel layout and mining tech¬niques. These methods are detailed in this chapter. It must be noted that most prevention/control methods men¬tioned in this chapter are used in the countries where the reference papers are cited. In the United States, the coal operators are not required to take those measures mentioned in this chapter. Some of the methods described in this chapter cannot be implemented with¬out changes in the current mining practice as permitted by laws. In addition cost of implementing those methods are not considered here. 6.2 PANEL LAYOUT As shown in Figs. 2.9, 2.10, and 2.11, permanent ground deformations in a subsidence basin mainly concentrate near the edges of the underground opening, and can be divided into four zones. A structure located in different zones will be subjected to different types and magnitudes of ground deformations. In laying out the panels, Table 5.1 and Figs. 2.9, 2.10, and 2.11 could be taken into consideration. Attempts could be made to avoid placing the structure on a location where the ground deformation to which that structure is sensitive is at its maximum. Therefore rational design of the panel is the simplest way to reduce structural defor¬mations. Panel design involves the determination of panel dimension, panel edge location, direction of face advance, and use of yield chain pillars. A. Panel Dimension Since longwalls in the US employ a multiple-entry system, where rows of chain pillars are left unmined, subsidence over those chain pillars is usually smaller. Therefore, whenever possi¬ble, the panel dimension could be designed such that a major structure or structures are over those unmined chain pillars, be¬tween adjacent panels, or some distance beyond both ends of the panels. At the center of the supercritical final subsidence basin, a structure will not be subjected to any final or permanent ground deformations. In order to create such a condition, the panel width must be such that the structure will be located beyond the major influence zone of the final subsidence basin, the minimum dimen¬sion of which must be: [ ] where L is the width or length of the final mined out gob, t is the width or length of the structure to be protected, h is mining depth and [ ] s is the angle of full subsidence. B. Panel Edge Location Wherever there is a permanent panel edge, there are large ground deformations induced on the surface on both sides of the permanent panel edge. Therefore whenever possible the panel di¬mension should be designed such that the permanent panel edges could be located in the areas with the least impacts. In terms of permanent edge location, it is best to eliminate any permanent panel edge under a structure or groups of structures. If this cannot be done, the panel should be lengthened to reduce the number of permanent panel edges, or narrower multiple panels advancing in the same direction in a staggered manner could be employed. If the structures are located in Zones II and III, the longer dimension of the structure must be parallel to the nearest perma¬nent edge (Fig. 6.1). But in Zone IV, the longer dimension should be tangential to the corner of the permanent panel edge. If the structure is inclined to the permanent panel edge, it will be sub¬jected to twisting and shearing. C. Direction of Face Advance The direction of face advance should be parallel to the long axis of the structure. But if the structure is to be located at or close to the center of the final subsidence basin, the direction of face advance should be perpendicular to the long axis of the structure. Careful choice of the direction of multiple face advance is the most effective way to reduce structural deformation and thus dam¬age. This applies the principle of overlapping and cancellations of ground deformations, due to multiple face advance, at the right time and at the right intensity, e.g., opposing tilts, concave and convex curvatures, tensile and compressive strains are induced simultaneously on the structure to be protected by two or more faces. D. Use of Yield Chain Pillars In US longwall panels there are generally two or three rows of stiff chain pillars between the panels. The combined width of the chain pillars ranges from 100 to 350 ft(30 to 107m). depending on mining depth. In general, surface movement above the chain pil¬lars after the panels on both sides have been extracted is much smaller, as compared to that in panel center. Thus in order to create critical or supercritical width of opening and eliminate sur¬face bumps over the chain pillars, yield chain pillars may be em¬ployed (Jarosz and Karmis, 1986). However if yield pillars are to be used, it must be designed such that it yields totally right after the panels on both sides have been extracted. Unfortunately cur¬rent yield pillar design techniques cannot predict when and how much it will yield. In summary, whenever possible attempts could be made to lay out the panel in such a way that surface structures are located above chain pillars between panels or above solid coal beyond both ends of the panels. In those areas the surface structures will most likely be unaffected, or if affected, the damage is so minor that no remedial measures are necessary. 6.3 CONTROLLED MINING TECHNIQUES Several mining techniques are available for reducing the sur¬face ground deformations of specific types. Regardless of tech-
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