Factors governing the strength and elastic properties of a physical model material used for strata mechanics investigations

Yavuz H., Fowell R.

JOURNAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF MINING AND METALLURGY, vol.103, no.1, pp.63-71, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Physical modelling is one of the research tools in the understanding of the failure mechanisms and the deformations likely to be experienced by the strata during mining operations. Success of the physical models to predict the strata behaviour depends on satisfaction of the scaling requirements in modelling material used. This paper gives results from a laboratory work carried out into the factors influencing the strength and elastic properties of a physical model material to satisfy the scaling requirements determined from application of dimensional analysis to the pertinent variables affecting the deformation and failure of the underground structures. it was found that the conditions for preparing the material over its composition had a great influence on the final properties. The effect of different water quantities, sand size and mixing time upon the properties of modelling material was studied and water requirement for different proportions of sand/plaster to prepare the material was optimized. Various sand/plaster ratios of compositions were cured at three different levels of oven temperatures. Curing at low temperature produced material within the average modulus ratios ranging from 290 to 432, which are common to most rock types according to Deere's rock classification, whilst curing at high temperature produced material within the low modulus ratios ranging from 64 to 140 depending on its composition. A combination of low and high temperature curing resulted with an increase in modulus ratio compared to high temperature curing. Curing the material at low temperature compared to other curing temperatures provided a satisfactory range of strength ratio. It has been shown that the relative amount of filler to plaster in the mix controls the frictional properties of the material and results with an increase in strength and modulus ratio of the material provided that suggested preparation and curing conditions were applied. Model material developed by curing at low temperature simulated modulus ranging from 241 to 343 and strength ratios ranging from 11.6 to 14.8 of a coal mine rocks, satisfactorily.