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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analyzing the potential for unstable mine failures with the calculation of released energy in numerical models
by Poeck, Eric C., Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines, 2016, 210; 10194982
Abstract (Summary)

Unstable failure in underground mining occurs when a volume of material is loaded beyond its strength and displaces suddenly. It is recognized on various scales, from small rock bursts to the collapse of pillars or entire sections of a mine. The energy that is released during smaller scale events is manifested through the ejection of material, which can pose a hazard to the safety of miners. Larger scale events generate seismic waves as mine workings are damaged and may entrap miners or terminate production.

This dissertation focuses on the analysis of unstable failure in an underground room and pillar mining environment. The potential for violent pillar failure is assessed using numerical modeling techniques and a parametric approach to loading conditions and material strength properties. The magnitude of instability is quantified by calculating the release of kinetic energy that occurs as failure progresses in each simulation.

Fundamental mechanisms associated with the release of kinetic energy are analyzed in a series of finite difference models, and the results are compared with analytical solutions to illustrate the applicability of the energy calculations to increasingly complex modes of failure. Back analyses are performed on two room and pillar mine collapse events from the western United States by constructing large-scale models and reproducing widespread failure. The values of energy released in two-dimensional models are extrapolated by assuming a depth of failure in the third direction, and the total energy values are compared to the documented seismic magnitudes from each collapse through empirical equations. With further development of this numerical modeling approach, energy consideration may be used to study the potential for instability in a wide variety of mining excavations and identify the associated range of hazards.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ozbay, M. Ugur
Commitee: Brune, Jurgen F., Griffiths, D. Vaughan, Nakagawa, Masami
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Mining Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geotechnology, Geological, Mining engineering
Keywords: Energy release, Rock bursts, Underground mining, Unstable failures
Publication Number: 10194982
ISBN: 978-1-369-48438-0
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