Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
NYUNGU, D. and STACEY, T.R.. Time-dependent tensile strengths of Bushveld Complex rocks and implications for rock failure around mining excavations. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.10, pp. 765-772. ISSN 2411-9717.
Despite observations of spalling and damage of mine excavation wall rock in the Bushveld Complex (BC) over the passage of time, there have been very few time-dependent or creep tests carried out in South Africa on rock, particularly on BC rock types. The research described in this paper deals with the investigation of stress and strain conditions influencing spalling of wall rock in BC mine excavations, and the influence of time on the tensile strength of several BC rock types. Time-dependent laboratory testing of BC rocks was carried out in indirect tension. The results show that the magnitude of the tensile strength of BC rock types is approximately 5% of their uniaxial compressive strength magnitudes. The average long-term uniaxial compressive strength of the BC rocks, interpreted from the axial stress-volumetric strain graphs, is 56% of the UCS value. The long-term tensile strength is shown to be less than 70% of the normal tensile strength. Extension strains at tensile strength failure ranged between 0.16 and 0.21 millistrain. Values corresponding with the long-term tensile strength are less than 70% of this range, namely, 0.11 to 0.15 millistrain. These results represent new knowledge, since such rock testing and analysis does not appear to have been carried out previously on BC rock types. Elastic numerical modelling was carried out to illustrate the extents of tensile stress zones and extension zones around of typical BC mine excavations. The models showed that large zones of extension strain can occur around BC excavations, and that the magnitudes of the extension strain can substantially exceed the critical values determined from the laboratory testing. The implication of this is that there are substantial zones surrounding BC mine excavations that will be prone to time-dependent spalling conditions and perhaps more significant failure.
Keywords : tensile strength; creep; time-dependent failure; rock strength; Bushveld Complex.