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|INTRODUCTION Column-type supports are used to prevent roof falls in underground excavations. The first individual column supports were made from timber that was cut to fit the irregular heights of mine seams. Because the seam height of the material removed varied throughout the mine, timber posts generally could be used only once. During the I 920s, steel friction props began to appear in British and European mines, and, by the 1950s, thousands of these props were being used. However, the steel friction props were heavy, difficult to install, and difficult to recover. Furthermore, the friction props could not be preloaded, and their yielding behavior was rather erratic. In 1946, hydraulic props were introduced in En¬gland, and, within a few years, they replaced friction props throughout Europe. The first application of hy¬draulic props in the United States occurred in the 1950s, during early experiments with longwall mining. Modern technology and high-production mining procedures have combined to make the use of hydraulic props a very acceptable method of providing temporary heavy-duty support for production areas. In areas such as development headings, where only modest roof loads are expected, lighter-duty jackscrews, ratchet jacks, and light hydraulic props are used. ADVANTAGES OF HYDRAULIC SUPPORTS The acceptance of hydraulic supports has been wide¬spread during the past 25 years, proving their reliability and effectiveness in preventing roof falls. Some of the advantages provided by hydraulic supports are: 1) Individual hydraulic props can be installed within 30 sec, resulting in a minimum exposure of per¬sonnel and equipment to an unsupported roof. 2) Hydraulic props can be preloaded to more than 4.5 t (5.0 st), increasing the frictional resistance between the rock strata. Thus, the roof is kept tight, improving the behavior of the unsupported ground. 3) If gradual roof sagging or bottom heaving im¬poses an irresistible force, the hydraulic prop yields gradually and continues to support the ground. 4) The support capacities of the hydraulic props most widely used range between 10 and 20 t (11 and 22 st). Their support capacities are maintained during yielding to an irresistible force. 5) Hydraulic props can be recovered rapidly. Where no other supports are provided for the roof, as in pillar¬ing operations, the hydraulic props can be recovered by remote means. 6) The length of hydraulic props is readily adjust¬able allowing them to be reused in seams where roof height varies. 7) Studies of mining operations indicate that the use of hydraulic props increases both personnel safety and mine productivity. DESCRIPTION Figs. I and 2 illustrate typical hydraulic props used in mines in the United States. Fig. I illustrates a prop|