Mining Publication: Development of Stress Measurements and Instrument Placement Techniques for Longwall Coal
Western coal mines are operating under increasingly challenging ground conditions. Researchers at the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are cooperating with mines to evaluate how these conditions affect mine operating stability and related miner safety. A system was developed to monitor rock and coal stresses during mining of an entire longwall panel. The system was designed to generate data in near real time to evaluate rock behavior in roof strata and the onset of hazardous conditions as overburden stress was redistributed over working entries during gob formation. Computer simulations and in-mine evaluations were used to optimize instrument placement. A prototype packer assembly was designed and tested for installing sensitive instruments in a mine roof. This paper provides background information on the stress monitoring concept and focuses on the development of instrument placement techniques and the prototype packer assembly.