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Ground Control Techniques Utilizing Polymer Grid Structures

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Author Travis B E
ID P199207040

Description

Lightweight polymer grids have recently been introduced to the mining industry. They are currently being used for roof and rib control, longwall shield recovery, safety guarding or barricade, highwall screening, internal reinforcement of gunnite/shotcrete applications, sub-base reinforcement, construction of steepened slopes, retaining walls, mine reclamation (i.e. erosion control, turf reinforcement), and in numerous mining waste related projects. These polymer mining grids utilize a strong, lightweight polymer, usually special grades of polypropylene or polyethylene. High tensile strengths are achieved by molecular orientation of these polymers in the manufacturing process. The first step in the manufacturing process is to extrude the polymers into thick continuous sheets. These sheets are then punched, and drawn into open grid structures. Aperture size and configuration are controlled by the geometry of the punched hole and the degree to which the grids are stretched. The drawing process is the key to the molecular orientation required for the tensile strengths. These long chain polymer molecules in their natural state have a random orientation. When stretched, the molecules are pulled into a parallel alignment, thus creating a lightweight product with tensile strength comparable to Steel.