Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Chugh, Yoginder


This thesis has experimentally studied the strength and stiffness properties of bedding planes and discontinuities in the immediate roof layers overlying Herrin No. 6 coal seam in Illinois. Rock joints and bedding planes are typical discontinuities in bedded rock mass and they control failure initiation and propagation of failure through the rock mass. Strength as well as deformation properties of bedding planes, joints and discontinuities are influenced by their surface roughness, inclination, intact rock properties, and pre-mining stress values and their orientation. The strength and deformation properties (stiffness values) are characterized by peak and residual strength values. Since support loads in excavations are due to deformations of the rock mass, their analysis should consider their strength and stiffness values. The overall goal of this research is to determine the shear strength and associated stiffness properties of bedding planes and joints of the immediate roof strata rocks within 25-30 ft. (7.5-9 m) overlying Herrin no. 6 coal seam (within the pressure arch zone) using direct shear tests. A shear test loading device was designed and integrated into the 150 t (1,334 kN) [*]Forney compression loading machine in the department. It was used to perform direct shear tests in accordance with ASTM D5607-08 " Standard test method for performing laboratory direct shear strength tests of rock specimens under constant normal force". The equipment also allows for determination of peak and residual friction angles along with the dilation angle. A total of 49 bedding plane samples were tested, out of which 46 (36 intact and 10 relatively weak and loose) samples passed QA/QC procedures in accordance to ASTM D5607. Samples from eight (8) different bedding planes- shale/limestone (SL), shale/sandstone (SSs), shale/bone (SB), laminated sandstone (LS), shale/shale (SS), bone/bone (BB), bone/limestone (BL), and limestone/limestone (LL) were tested. The number of samples tested for each bedding plane were: SL- 11, SSs- 8, SB- 5, BB- 4, LS- 6, SS- 9, BL- 1, and LL- 2. Moisture content and as-received unit weight values of samples range 0.9% to 5% and 111 pcf (17.5 kN/m3) to 165 pcf (25 kN/m3), respectively. Shear strength values were developed at 400 psi (2.75 MPa) normal stress. Upon failure, residual shear strengths were determined at 600 psi (4.13 MPa) and 800 psi (5.5 MPa) normal stresses to calculate the angle of sliding friction and to develop the failure criterion for each rock type. Peak and residual shear strength values at 400 psi (2.75 MPa) normal stress range 153 - 907 psi (1.06 - 6.26 MPa) and 119 - 600 psi (0.82 -4.14 MPa), respectively. The average normal and shear stiffness values are 44,000 psi/in (11.98 GPa/m) and 11450 psi/in (3.11 GPa/m). Dilation angles are typically very low (<10◦) and negative in some cases. Joint roughness values with JRC index were typically below 10. Angle of sliding friction values range from 9◦ to 42◦. Failure criterion for different bedding planes and a composite failure criterion representing the behavior of all bedding planes were developed using linear regression. A numerical modeling case study of remnant pillar stability in a southern Illinois mine was performed that used the shear strength and stiffness parameters developed above. FLAC3D, Phase2D, and LaModel were also used to assess the stability of remnant pillars. This study would significantly aid in the design and stability analysis of both surface and underground mines. Data developed can be successfully implemented in safe geotechnical design of any surface and underground structure (both civil and mining) viz. slope stability of open pit mining, subsidence prediction during longwall and room and pillar mining. Results from this thesis would significantly improve in the safe and accurate design of mine excavations. * Equipment mentioned is not for endorsement




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