Study of weathering action on coal pillars and its effects on long-term stability
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2000
The stability of pillars in old mined-out districts is greatly dependent on the weathering action caused by moisture penetration into the pillar structure. Field observations in old mining districts indicated that this weathering action becomes critical in terms of the stability of the pillar if the coal seam contains parting or binder (layers of claystone or mudstone). The weathering action caused by moisture penetration over a long period of time degrades both parting and coal. However, it has been observed that the structural deterioration is more severe in parting. Moisture-penetration rates in parting and coal are different. The extent of the weathered zone in various layers of the pillar is primarily time dependent. This paper investigates, both in the laboratory and in the field, the effects of weathering action on coal and parting. In the laboratory, slake durability indices and uniaxial compressive strength tests for dry and saturated specimens are compared for coal. In the field, the in situ strength profiles for coal and parting layers are obtained, and the effect of time (in terms of the pillar age) on the strength profiles is studied An attempt was also made to establish formulae for time-dependent strengths of coal and parting.