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Weak Claystone Floors and their Implications to Pillar Design and Settlement

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Author Seedsman R W and Gordon N
ID P199207083

Description

The in situ behaviour of claystone floors associated with the Wallarah, Great Northern and Fassifem Seams has been studied using a comprehensive suite of stress and displacement monitors. The instrumentation was supplemented by in situ and laboratory testing of the claystone materials. The instrumentation demonstrated that the presence of claystone floors is associated with floor heave, extra rib spall, and settlement of the pillar into the floor. Horizontal floor extensometers showed that the depth of extrusion of clay was limited to 1-2 in. A pore pressure transducer installed in a claystone floor demonstrated the possible existence of short-term undrained behaviour of the claystone. Long term swelling of destressed claystone was also documented. Settlement of pillars into claystone floors can be analysed using simple elastic theory. The assumption of plane strain is valid for most claystone thickness/pillar width aspect ratios. Floor heave can be analysed using bearing capacity concepts. However, it is considered that heave is the result of local bearing capacity failure in the rib spall zone. The advantage of this model is that the bearing capacity equation can be applied without resort to unrealistically high factors of safety.