Mining Publication: Feasibility of Using Laser-Based Vibration Measurements to Detect Roof Fall Hazards in Underground Mines
One of the primary methods for analyzing roof stability in underground mines is the age-old method of "roof sounding" where a miner taps on the roof and listens for the hollow sound of loose blocks of rock. This paper looks at the feasibility of using noncontact laser-based vibration measurements to detect roof fall hazards with the ultimate vision of improving, expanding and automating procedures for mine roof inspection. Vibration measurements made on loose blocks of rock in underground mines are summarized and compared to estimates of fundamental resonance frequencies for rock slabs of the size responsible for highly hazardous "skin failures." Both laser Doppler vibrometry and full-field interferometric methods are examined and are considered to be feasible methods for detecting anomalous vibrations in loose roof rocks. Results from simple laboratory experiments using laser vibrometry demonstrate some of the proposed application concepts. While considered a challenge to move these techniques from the laboratory to heavy industrial or outdoor environments, the potential for success in the current application is enhanced by the reduced requirements of qualitative analyses.