A recurrent problem in the mining industry is the time-dependent deformation of coal measure rocks, known as creep. Creep can create an unstable roof and floor, which may result in roof and floor failure and even fatalities. Research on creep effect in coalmine stability is virtually nonexistent.

Thanks to a $211,816 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a researcher at West Virginia University’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is investigating this problem and also creating a database of rock properties to help ease the problem.

Research conducted by Dr. Brijes Mishra, assistant professor of mining engineering, will allow mining engineers to design safe and structurally stable coal mines.

“In coal mining, stability analysis of the mines is extensively performed using various types of geomechanical software,” explained Mishra. “As with any other computer program, the output is only as good as its input.”

However in mining, with wrong input the accuracy of the mine’s design is compromised.

“This research seeks to bring forth an extensive database of properties, which will help any mining engineer to provide accurate and consistent input to their geomechanical software,” said Mishra.

By analyzing creep and providing more geomechanical inputs, mine designs can incorporate alternative support methods that will delay the onset of creep and provide a safer working environment for miners.

“This research involves extensive experimental work, field visits and even the purchase of new equipment,” said Mishra.

Several graduate students will also be hired to help conduct this research.

Mishra is also interested in numerical modeling and theoretical and applied rock mechanics research.

—WVU—

dar/10/18/11

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CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, CEMR
304-293-4086; mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu