Stull Support in Flat-Bedded Ore Bodies

Taylor, William J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
Strictly defined, a stull is an inclined or horizontal timber support; a vertically placed timber is defined as a prop. Common usage allows the catchall term "stull" to refer to all such uniaxial mine support, regardless of orientation. Typically a stull is a round wooden column that is wedged in place to provide short-term auxiliary support between sill and back, or between hanging wall and footwall. Stulls may be used exclusively or in con- junction with other support systems such as roof bolts, shotcrete, or cribbing. Stulls are used both as local temporary support in stoping operations and for uniform systematic support installations. Where stoping areas are to be abandoned soon after excavation, stulls may be used to provide temporary support during mining operations. Where controlled caving and subsidence is required, stull supports are designed to fail in a systematic, predictable manner. Wood type is selected on the basis of availability, price, and load carrying characteristics. Coniferous woods are typically used, especially to carry heavy ground loads. Brittle woods are generally avoided because of their tendency to fail suddenly. Gradual yielding failure is preferable to sudden, unexpected failure of the support. Some usage of wood from deciduous trees such as cottonwood and other poplars has been reported in Grants, NM. These stulls reportedly mushroomed as the ground load increased but continued to maintain their structural integrity. Stulls fabricated from structural steel are used in special applications. Adjustable lengths are commercially available in mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic designs. The high cost of mechanical stulls limits their use to mining systems where recovery and reuse is possible. End blocking, also called headboards or footboards, uses wood blocks that are placed between the stull end and the ground they are supporting. The blocks are typically 50.8 to 101.6 mm (2 to 4 in.) thick, 203.2 to 304.8 mm (8 to 12 in.) wide, and 381 to 609.6 mm (15 to 24 in.) long. End blocking serves to distribute the support over wider back area. Compression of the end blocking gives visual indication of wall movement prior to failure of the stull. A common application of the stull is in flat-bedded uranium mining during pillar extraction. Many western US uranium mines use a pillar pattern development to delineate the irregular ore pods. After development of an appropriate sized pillar, the ore pillars are then sequentially mined out, leaving the undercut hanging wall or back to cave. Where thickness of the ore is less than 4.3 m (14 ft), stulls are generally used to provide ground control as the pillar is removed in slices. Experience dictates the density of stull placement. In general, the number and size of stulls should be sufficient to resist ground closure and to provide support for drilling and loading operations adjacent to the pillar. Stulls next to the mining face are often lagged 0.9 to 1.2 m (3 or 4 ft) up from the floor (or sill) to confine the blasted ore to a passage next to the pillar. Mucking is simplified by this confinement. Experience dictates whether back control along a mining face requires removal of stulls to allow con- trolled subsidence of the back or hanging wall. Without caving or closure, abutment pressure can create poor ground conditions near the pillar.
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