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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


MARITZ, J. A.. The presence of shear stresses in pillars and the effect on factor of safety in a room-and-pillar layout. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp.1049-1054. ISSN 2411-9717.

Since the dawn of mining, pillars have been used as primary support to ensure stable workings. Early designs were based on trial and error, after which more scientific means developed over time. A vast amount of progress has been made, especially in soft-rock room-and-pillar design methodologies, from which hard-rock design theories developed with minor changes to constant parameter values. The commonly used Hedley and Grant method for hard rock and Salamon and Munro methodology for soft rock draw on the tributary area associated with the pillar, the width-to-height ratio of the pillar, and a back-analysed strength reduction factor. In these methods, only the vertical stress, or stress normal to the pillar influences the load applied to the pillar. This investigation considers the possible influence of shear stresses on pillars in a room-and-pillar layout in single reef planes and multi-reef environments, based on elastic numerical modelling methods. The possible shear stress poses a safety and financial risk to the design process, whereby an undersized pillar would lead to unstable working conditions, whereas oversized pillars could lead to an under-utilized ore resource.

Keywords : numerical modelling; shear stress; factor of safety.

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