Mining Publication: Developments in Sealant Support Systems for Ground Control
During the past few years, the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been evaluating developments in sealant support systems from a ground control perspective. The proper selection and use of a sealant material can significantly enhance ground control which may result in a decrease in worker related injuries due to ground falls. The purpose of this paper is threefold: to briefly review the current state of-the-art technology in shotcrete and membrane developments, to evaluate the preliminary findings of a long-term underground study of various types of sealant materials, and to examine installation practices that are critical for an effective sealant material. The underground study utilizes NIOSH's Lake Lynn Laboratory Experimental Mine to evaluate the long-term performance of several types of shotcrete and membrane materials. Sealant performance to date have been evaluated on a regular basis over a two year period. Although the study is still ongoing, critical mining practices were identified that may seriously effect the bond of the sealant materials to the mine roof and rib; most notably, the importance of scaling and thorough cleaning of the rib prior to application. Also, results from an extensive series of Schmidt Hammer tests found that the shotcrete increased in strength by 70% during the humid summer months.