Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A study of unstable rock failures using finite difference and discrete element methods
by Garvey, Ryan J., Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines, 2013, 249; 3557944
Abstract (Summary)

Case histories in mining have long described pillars or faces of rock failing violently with an accompanying rapid ejection of debris and broken material into the working areas of the mine. These unstable failures have resulted in large losses of life and collapses of entire mine panels. Modern mining operations take significant steps to reduce the likelihood of unstable failure, however eliminating their occurrence is difficult in practice. Researchers over several decades have supplemented studies of unstable failures through the application of various numerical methods. The direction of the current research is to extend these methods and to develop improved numerical tools with which to study unstable failures in underground mining layouts.

An extensive study is first conducted on the expression of unstable failure in discrete element and finite difference methods. Simulated uniaxial compressive strength tests are run on brittle rock specimens. Stable or unstable loading conditions are applied onto the brittle specimens by a pair of elastic platens with ranging stiffnesses. Determinations of instability are established through stress and strain histories taken for the specimen and the system.

Additional numerical tools are then developed for the finite difference method to analyze unstable failure in larger mine models. Instability identifiers are established for assessing the locations and relative magnitudes of unstable failure through measures of rapid dynamic motion. An energy balance is developed which calculates the excess energy released as a result of unstable equilibria in rock systems. These tools are validated through uniaxial and triaxial compressive strength tests and are extended to models of coal pillars and a simplified mining layout.

The results of the finite difference simulations reveal that the instability identifiers and excess energy calculations provide a generalized methodology for assessing unstable failures within potentially complex mine models. These combined numerical tools may be applied in future studies to design primary and secondary supports in bump-prone conditions, evaluate retreat mining cut sequences, asses pillar de-stressing techniques, or perform backanalyses on unstable failures in select mining layouts.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ozbay, Ugur M.
Commitee: Griffiths, Vaughan, Grubb, John W., Mustoe, Graham G. W., Turner, Cameron J.
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Mining Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mechanics, Geophysical, Mining engineering
Keywords: Coal bump, Discrete elements, Finite difference, Rock mechanics, Rockburst, Unstable failure
Publication Number: 3557944
ISBN: 978-1-303-01949-4
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