Borehole Extensometers

Boisen, B. P.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Application Measurement of rock deformation is essential to stability and behavioral monitoring of underground openings. The difficulties of obtaining adequate sample distribution, density, and orientation can frequently be overcome by the use of single and multiple position borehole extensometers. In its simplest form, a borehole extensometer consists of an instrument head, usually anchored in the collar of a borehole, and a number of in-hole anchors, each of which is fixed in place at a known distance from the collar. As rock adjacent to the borehole deforms, the component parallel to the borehole direction causes a distance change between adjacent in-hole anchors, as well as a distance change between individual anchors and the instrument head. These changes are measured by means of a mechanical link (usually wire or rod) extending to the instrument head from each anchor. The resulting data can be used to compute the distribution, magnitude, rate, and acceleration of deformation in the material intersected by the extensometer's borehole. Wire Vs. Rod Extensometers Since the early 1960s myriad varieties of borehole extensometers have become available through the combination of various special features of two basic instruments, the wire and rod versions of borehole extensometers. Recent publications have recommended shallow depth limitations for wire extensometers, and favor rod extensometers for a broad range of borehole inclinations and depths. There are three main reasons for using a deep wire system: its cost effectiveness; the fact that tremendous depth means tremendous rod weight which will cause the rod to buckle or rub against the borehole or casing wall; and users' attitude and proper understanding of how to install and apply a wire-type extensometer. Here experience plays a big role. Over the years, many have learned the hard way that untensioned rod extensometers are simple and inherently inexpensive, but limited to vertical up holes where sensitivity is not influenced by friction between the rod elements and the borehole wall or protective conduit, the inertia of the rod elements, or the direction of the movement to be measured. In deep, horizontal, or inclined holes, and in instances where compressive as well as tensile strains or displacements are anticipated, tensioned rod or wire systems are preferred. System Components Borehole extensometers are made up of at least the following five principal components: the instrument head; the collar anchor assembly; the downhole system of anchors and rods or wires; the signal cable if the head is equipped for electronic readout; and the readout apparatus, whether mechanical or electronic. These components are shown in Fig. 1. Borehole Requirements Most extensometers are designed for installation in nominal 75 to 57-mm (3.0 to 2.25-in.) diam drill holes. Either a diamond drill or a percussion drill hole is satisfactory, provided the variation in drill-hole diameter is within the tolerance of the standard anchor design. The basic system may be modified for other hole diameters by changing the dimensions of the collar anchor and downhole anchor assemblies. Some instrument heads and collar anchor assemblies require enlarged borehole collars, though usually not over 150 mm (6 in.) for a depth of 1 m (3 ft). It is desirable, although not essential, that holes be free-draining. Holes must be clean and free of debris before installation. Depth/Orientation of Extensometer Boreholes Extensometers are designed to measure axial strain components in the instrumented drill hole. As the drill hole is axially deformed, the distances between individual downhole anchors and the instrument head change, as do the distances between adjacent anchors. The distance changes measured by a multiple position borehole extensometer, for example, are reduced to functions of time, hole depth, anchor position, or other parameters of significance in terms of the structure under investigation.
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