NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Think like a rock.

Barczak T
Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining, July 26-28, 2011, Morgantown, West Virginia. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University, 2011 Jul; :1-11
Early in my career, while giving a presentation on shield design for longwall mining at one of the International Conferences on Ground Control in Mining, the late Jim Scott told me that I was finally getting it, because "I was starting to think like a rock!" Although I didn't realize it at the time, those few words changed my career forever. At the start of my career, I did a lot of laboratory testing, taking advantage of the unique capabilities of the Mine Roof Simulator to study the performance and design characteristics of longwall shields. I had a pretty good handle on what made shields work and what made them fail, but I was still struggling with how and why they develop their in-service loads and what they were actually controlling as opposed to being passive bystanders in a world beyond their control. It became clear to me that the simplistic models of dead weight loading could not explain the behavior I saw and measured underground. The problem did not go away when I started studying standing support systems. Again, I learned much about the strength, stiffness, and stability of these supports and helped the industry develop several new support products that attempted to provide more efficient support designs. But here, too, the simplistic models of dead weight loading did not seem to fit for me. That's when I began to incorporate the ground reaction concept as a way of integrating the support response and the ground behavior into a cohesive design methodology. The concept has its limitations, no doubt, but I believe some form of it will be the future of not only designing supports but also, in the broader sense, enhancing the engineering aspects of ground control. The paper presented at the International Conference on Ground Control last year by Esterhuizen (2010) on pillar behavior is evidence of this. Think like a rock. Jim Scott was right. It takes two to dance. You can't dance alone and you will never understand ground control by thinking like a support! "Dumb as a box of rocks?" I don't think so. The answer lies in the rocks!
Rock-mechanics; Ground-control; Ground-stability; Mining-industry; Longwall-mining; Laboratory-testing; Simulation-methods; Environmental-control; Environmental-control-equipment; Control-equipment; Control-methods; Control-systems; Control-technology; Underground-mining; Structural-analysis; Weight-factors; Weight-measurement; Overloading; Environmental-technology; Engineering; Engineering-controls
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Source Name
Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining, July 26-28, 2011, Morgantown, West Virginia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division