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CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF PAST RESEARCH INTO ROCK BOLT ANCHORAGE MECHANICS

Alison Whitaker During the last four decades, the use of rock bolts for the reinforcement of underground mine roof has been increasing steadily. Today rock bolting has become the primary support system in underground mining. The use of rock bolts has resulted in a great reduction in the number of fatal and non-fatal roof-fall accidents in the coal mines (Smesler, Dar, Pettibone and Bolstad., 1982). Furthermore, since the bolted roof can provide an unobstructed opening with minimum maintenance, production has increased, costs have decreased and ventilation has improved (Peng and Tang, 1984). In recent years the development of fast-setting resins has had a tremendous effect in the mining industry with respect to both safety and production. Fully grouted resin bolts, employed primarily in areas exhibiting severe roof conditions and often where mining was previously considered impossible, now effectively support nearly 90% of all underground openings. Three separate bodies (The University of New South Wales, Strata Control Technology and Powercoal) have independently concluded that between 30 and 35% of rock reinforcement is not providing optimum performance in coal mining environments. This directly and indirectly costs the industry over $30 million per annum. There are no standardised methods for assessing support consumables, installation techniques and support behaviour. Surprisingly, although many millions of fully encapsulated bolts are installed per annum, the actual anchorage and failure mechanisms of resin anchors have yet to be adequately quantified. Rock support has evolved primarily from an experience base rather than a knowledge base. Hence there is a need to develop this engineering knowledge base in order to remove confusion and misconceptions in the industry as to roof bolting principles and practices, to optimise and assure the safe, cost effective and appropriate use of fully encapsulated support systems and to develop improved rock support systems. To act as a basis to address the problems stated above, this thesis covers a comprehensive analysis of past research and also incorporates a numerical analysis. In performing the research it was evident that a number of basic mechanisms work together to form support. These mechanisms are beam building, suspension theory, rock arching and pinning. There is scepticism and confidence in each of the support mechanism theories. Hence it would be best to determine the roof support mechanism for each mine, accommodating its specific characteristics before forming a ground control plan The performance of any reinforcement design is limited by the efficiency of load transfer. This is the mechanism by which force is generated and sustained in the reinforcing tendon as a consequence of strata deformation. (Fabjanczyk et al., 1992) The efficiency of load transfer is affected by Grout Properties cementitious or resin Profile of the rock bolt

Confinement created, which is governed by the encapsulation medium, hole diameter, bar profile Bolthole size Quality of the bolt hole Anchorage length Rock type Elongation characteristics Installation procedures, over/under-spinning, glove fingering Surface finish of the tendon

The only means of determining the support characteristics of fully encapsulated bolts is to strain gauge the bolts and to monitor the strain changes at various bolt positions. In carrying out a syncopate of past research (section 9.1) the following factors were evident: A uniform testing procedure is not followed Laboratory testing needs to be able to reflect what happens in the field before any testing results can be relied upon. A lack of data is produced in past research papers to be able to make any comparisons or forecasts for laboratory testing at the University of New South Wales. Data that is neglected to be mentioned in some papers are material properties such as type of steel used; it tensile, shear, or compressive strength, the type of material used as the host to the rock bolt, resin properties and many other factors. It is very difficult to evaluate properly the capacity of a grouted bolt by a standard pull test. Additional instruments such as strain gauges are required to provide a complete assessment of grouted bolts. (Signer, 1990. Field pull tests) Pull tests are inadequate to correctly evaluate the support capacity of a fully grouted bolting system. The pull test is only a yield test on the steel bar: it does not indicate the ability of a full-column bolt system to perform satisfactorily. Laboratory pull tests can be false, especially if conducted in steel pipes. The effectiveness of a rock bolt depends heavily on the rock type it is situated in. If a test is going to be conducted in a joint free material that is much stronger than the field situation results will be over-optimistic. Half of the deflection measured in a typical pull test is due to elastic deformation of the pull gear. From reviewing past research this has not been taken into account. Testing focuses on pull tests. Shear, tensile and axial tests seem to a secondary consideration. A numerical analysis was carried out incorporating a model of the laboratory testing being carried out at the University of New South Wales and a second model of a field situation. The numerical analysis did not reveal any new findings. It basically gave an idea of: what results can be expected for the test rig at the University of New South Wales and how the laboratory model compares to the field model The laboratory and field models both followed the same trends, that is a as confinement was abated displacement increased, stress increased at a constant location and yielding zones became larger. In order to gain a more qualitative representation of failure and anchorage mechanisms of fully encapsulated rock bolts a comprehensive parametric study needs to be performed.