Stabilising rock surfaces with a glass reinforced polymer skin
Mine roadways developed in highly stressed strata are subject to roof shear, which under severe conditions may manifest as the well known symptom of guttering, particularly at the roadway edge leading into the major horizontal stress. This roof shear can progressively reduce the effectiveness of bolt confinement of the strata within the lower roof horizon affecting stability of the immediate roof. This paper presents the results of a study to investigate the effectiveness of polymers as skin reinforcement in highly stressed coal mine roadways, as they may provide better roadway skin support than the currently used steel mesh. A large concrete block intercepted with artificial joints and reinforced with steel bolts without skin support, was loaded until significant slip occurred along the joints. Upon loading, a roof cavity resembling a gutter developed, as some of the jointed concrete parted from the free surface. In addition to bolts, subsequent models with identical fracture planes were supported with steel mesh or with glass reinforced polymer skin bonded to the free side. Loads and displacements were compared for models with and without skin reinforcement. As expected the skin support helped resist gutter formation, to various degrees, while increasing the residual strength of the concrete block. It was found that there was significantly less bedding displacements in models with the polymer skin, when compared with both steel mesh and no skin reinforcement. This suggests that there would be benefits to using a spray on polymeric skin as surface support in roofs subject to severe roof shear.