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Coal pillar strength and practical coal pillar design considerations


, : Coal pillar strength and practical coal pillar design considerations. Information Circular - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Pages 155-162

This paper demonstrates that finite-element modeling can be used to predict in situ coal pillar strength, especially under nonideal conditions where interface friction and roof and floor deformation are the primary controlling factors. Despite their differences in approach, empirical, analytical, and numerical pillar design methods have apparently converged on fundamentally similar concepts of coal pillar mechanics. The finite-element model results, however, are not intended to suggest a new pillar design criterion. Rather, they illustrate the site-specific and complex nature of coal pillar design and the value of using modeling procedures to account for such complex site-specific conditions. Because of the site-specific nature of coal pillar design, no single pillar design formula or model can apply in all instances. Understanding and accounting for the site-specific parameters are very important for successful coal pillar design. More work remains before the century-old problems related to pillar design are finally solved. Future research should focus on the cross-linkage of empirical, analytical, and numerical pillar design methods.

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