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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Design guidelines : underhand cut and fill cemented paste backfill sill beams Hughes, Paul B.


Difficult ground conditions negatively affect both mine production and the safety of underground workers. Underhand cut-and-fill mining is a potential solution to these issues. Discussions with mine sites revealed the use of sill beams in underhand cut-and-fill mining is not optimized. Optimization in ground support, development of in-situ strength test, and revisions of design standards are desired. Ultimately, the operations require the minimum cemented paste backfill (CPB) strength for a stable span. Operational concerns were addressed by a multi-prong approach investigating stability of CPB sill beams using observational, experimental and analytical techniques. A case study approach summarizing the design of five mines utilizing underhand cut-and-fill with CPB is presented for different ground conditions. A historical study of span widths and beam strengths for the Stillwater mine is presented. Laboratory testing determined the stress-strain behaviour of CPB. CPB follows a hyperbolic elastic loading path to peak stress followed by a strain-softening associated with the decay of the cohesion values. Additional testing found that cohesive and tensile strength values were on average 35 and 20 percent respectively of the unconfined compressive strength. This finding impacts sill beam design strengths as previous assumptions were conservative. Test database analyses from three mine sites found that sample size and location preparation has no effect on the strength of the sample. In-situ testing methods common in other industries were not practical with CPB; rather the in-situ strength can be represented by a site specific moisture content index relationship. Review of current design methodology noted closure stresses were absent from the majority; a method was developed to assess closure for sill beam stability. The potential for critical failures were determined through a Monte Carlo probabilistic model. Methods reducing the risk of failure based on the simulation are investigated. Analysis found ground support does not improve the structural stability of the sill beam. Ground support keeps the beam intact: beam equations govern stability. The stability of sill beam in a seismic environment was analyzed based on the strain-energy density of the beam. The research concludes with a design guideline for CPB sill beams.

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