Numerical modeling of stress redistribution to assess pillar rockburst proneness around longwall panels : Case study of the Provence coal mine, France

Abstract : Rockburst is a violent explosion of rock that can occur in underground mines. In the current research, the main objective is to demonstrate the causes that may influence the rockburst proneness by using the numerical modeling tool. However, firstly, the pre-mining stress state and the induced stresses due to surrounding excavations have to be studied precisely. The Provence coal mine, where a rockburst took place in its shaft station that is surrounded by many longwall caving panels, has been chosen as a case study. A large-scale 3D numerical model has been constructed to include the shaft station area with its small-scale pillars and galleries, and the large-scale longwall panels with their accompanying goaf area. Many problems appeared while developing such large-scale numerical model, the first problem was the initialization of stress state at a large-scale, where the measured vertical stresses are in disagreement with the overburden weight, and the in-situ stresses are highly anisotropic. The second problem was the simulation of the goaf area accompanying longwall panels. The third problem was the assessment of pillars instability in terms of its strength/average stress ratio, and its volume. The Fourth problem was the assessment of rockburst proneness in the shaft station based on different rockburst criteria. Five methods were developed to initialize the heterogeneous pre-mining stress in the large-scale numerical model. These methods are based on the Simplex Method, which is mainly based on optimizing the difference between the in-situ measured stress values and the numerical stress values to develop stress gradients able to express the stress heterogeneity and compatible with the in-situ measurements. The method that is based on initiating the stress state with 3D stress gradients was found to be more efficient than the traditional method that is based on the horizontal-to-vertical stress ratios. Regarding the goaf simulation, three models were developed and implemented in the numerical model to express the mechanical behavior within the goaf area above longwall panels. Two of these models are based on an elastic behavior, and the third one is based on the strain-hardening elasto-plastic behavior that takes the consolidation phenomenon into consideration. It was found that the goaf area above longwall panels could reach up to 32 times the seam thickness, and the elastic modulus of caved area (the first few meters in the goaf area) did not exceed 220 MPa to fulfill the roof-floor convergence. But, with advance of the exploitation, this soft material consolidated under the pressure of the overlying strata. In case of critical and super-critical width, the vertical stress in the goaf area exceeded the overburden weight, and it increased up to 4 times the overburden weight on the rib-sides. The vertical stress increased in the shaft station pillars as a result of exploiting the nearby longwall panels. It was found that the pillar volume plays an important role in its stability. And, the strength/stress ratio was found to be insufficient to quantify the rockburst proneness in underground mines. Many rockburst criteria were implemented in the numerical model to assess the rockburst proneness. It was found that the criteria that are based on stress and strain changes were able to assess the rockburst proneness
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Samar Ahmed. Numerical modeling of stress redistribution to assess pillar rockburst proneness around longwall panels : Case study of the Provence coal mine, France. Other. Université de Lorraine, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016LORR0248⟩. ⟨tel-01752416⟩

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