Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Coal Pillar Mechanics and Design, Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (NIOSH) 99-114, IC-9448, 1999 Jun; :139-144
Coal bumps are influenced by geologic conditions, the geometric design of coal mine excavations, and the sequence and rate of extraction. Researchers from private industry and government agencies around the world have studied mechanisms of violent failure and have identified individual factors that contribute to coal bumps. To develop predictive tools for assessing coal bump potential, the authors initiated a comprehensive study using information from 25 case studies undertaken in U.S. mines. Multiple linear regression and numerical modeling analyses of geological and mining conditions were used to identify the most significant factors contributing to stress bumps in coal mines. Twenty-five factors were considered initially, including mechanical properties of strata, stress fields, face and pillar factors of safety, joint spacings, mining methods, and stress gradients. In situ strength was estimated in 12 coal seams where uniaxial compressive strength exceeded 2,000 psi. Allowances were made for favorable local yielding characteristics of mine roof and floor in reducing damage severity. Pillar and face factors of safety were calculated using displacement-discontinuity methods for specific geometries. This work identified the most important variables contributing to coal bumps. These are (1) mechanical properties of strata, including local yield characteristics of a mine roof and floor, (2) gate pillar factors of safety, (3) roof beam thickness, joint spacing, and stiffness characteristics, which influence released energy, (4) stress gradients associated with the approach of mining to areas of higher stress concentrations, and (5) the mining method. By combining the strength of both analytical and statistical methods, new capabilities were developed for predicting coal bump potential and for building confidence intervals on expected damage.