UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Empirical design of span openings in weak rock Ouchi, Andrea Miyuki


This thesis presents ground control best practices in weak rock environments including an augmentation to the existing Span Design curve by adding 463 case histories of RMR76 values ranging from 25 to 60. A Neural Network analysis of this data has been added and compared to the existing Span Design data of 292 case histories. Ground support is almost always used in weak rock environments, though the type of support used can vary widely. The development of the weak rock augmented Span Design Curve has also been calibrated to four different support categories; Category A: Pattern Friction Sets, Category B: Pattern Friction Sets with Spot Bolting of Rebar, Category C: Pattern Friction Sets with Pattern Rebar Bolts and Category D: Cablebolting, Shotcrete, Spiling, Timber Sets or Underhand Cut and Fill. Category A is considered “Unsupported” with an average Factor of Safety less than 1.2. Categories B, C and D are considered “Supported” with average Factors of Safety greater than 1.2. All categories are compared the original Critical Span Design Curve presented by Lang (1994). However, only Category A can be accurately compared to the original Critical Span Design Curve as it is “Unsupported” as well. Category A yields good results, however, Categories B, C and D do not, but still demonstrate that spans can remain stable at lower RMR76 values. Design of underground man-entry type excavations in North America relies heavily upon empirical analysis. This design requires a higher Factor of Safety than other non-man entry type excavations. A comparison of the calculated ½ span failure Factor of Safety between all the categories is also presented. The contribution this research provides to the mining industry is the "Unsupported" Weak Rock Updated Span Design Curve and awareness pertaining to the potentially detrimental effects of using resin grounted rebar in weak rock masses and the false sense of security that the use of resin grouted rebar may instill. It is also shown that spans in the “Unstable” zone of the new “Unsupported” Weak Rock Updated Span Design Curve can possibly be stabilized if detailed engineering design is applied to obtain “Supported” status.

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