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|The method of coal pillar design involves primarily two aspects: the geometry of the pillar and the strength of the coal. However, the strength of the coal has to be emphasized with respect to the entire pillar dimension rather than isolated strength values of coal samples taken and measured from different locations. As of now, the presently applied pillar design systems do not specify clearly what the coal sample strength really represents. The intention of this paper is to introduce the concept of seam strength as opposed to the current practice of using coal strength as a prime design criteria in the formulation of pillar calculations. Seams are most often composed of multiple layers of coal, partings, and bone in various configurations, changing within the vertical section of the seam even in relatively close locations. The difference in strength between the weakest and strongest component of the coal seam could be as much as five times or more. An experimental approach based on multiple uniaxial compressive strength tests performed on coal samples from the Coalburg and Warfield seams from eastern Kentucky was undertaken. Analysis of the results led to the conclusion that for pillar dimension calculations, both the weighted mean of the seam strength and the strength of the weakest stratum should be considered, rather than the relatively vague aspect of coal strength. The design of pillar dimensions based on the aforemen¬tioned criteria should assure a more realistic design performance.|