Title page for ETD etd-11092006-132936

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Williams, Stephen Bruce
URN etd-11092006-132936
Document Title The effect of scale and shape on the strength of Merensky Reef samples
Degree MEng (Mining Engineering)
Department Mining Engineering
Advisor Name Title
Prof G A Fourie Committee Chair
  • pillaring (mining) design
  • platinum mines and mining
  • mining engineering
Date 2000-04-01
Availability unrestricted
In general, as the uniaxial compressive strength of rock samples is tested, the uniaxial strength of the rock decreases with increasing sample size until a strength is reached beyond which no further decrease in strength is observed for further increases in size. The size at which this occurs was termed the critical size by Bieniawski (1968) and the corresponding strength the critical strength. Once these values are obtained no significant changes in strength may be expected as a result of further volume changes. For the purposes of pillar design, this strength should be adjusted to account for other factors that affect pillar strength, the main factors being the width to height ratio (w/h) effect, jointing and contact conditions.

Further test work on Merensky Reef was required to clarify the: 1. Values of itís critical size and strength 2. Effect of the w/h on itís strength 3. Effect of the frictional contacts between the reef and the surrounding rock on the reefs uniaxial strength. These results could then be integrated into a holistic pillar design methodology to improve current pillar designing practices.

These effects were examined through the laboratory testing of samples originating from Amandelbult Platinum mine.

A critical strength of approximately 110 MPa was obtained for samples with diameters, 130 - 250 mm (w/h =1). Increasing the frictional contacts between sample and loading platens was found to increase the sample's strength. A marked difference was found between the insitu and laboratory contact friction angles for Merensky Reef. The insitu contact friction angle was found to be approximately 2.5 times larger then the laboratory contact friction angle.

The uniaxial strength increased linearly with increasing w/h ratios up to a w/h ratio of 6. For w/h ratios greater then 6 the strength continued to increased with increasing w/h ratios, but no curve could be acceptably fitted to the data to describe this trend.

The results of this study can be applied to mine pillar design in the Bushveld Igneous complex.

© 2000, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Williams, SB 2000, The effect of scale and shape on the strength of Merensky reef samples, MEng dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11092006-132936/ >


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