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Development and Testing of Insulating Shotcrete for the Application in Underground Tunnels Open Access


Other title
thermal insulation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Liu, Wei Victor
Supervisor and department
Bindiganavile, Vivek (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering )
Apel, Derek (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering )
Examining committee member and department
Szmigiel, Piotr (Lhoist North America)
Bindiganavile, Vivek (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Schmitt, Doug (Department of Physics)
Szymanski, Jozef (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Joseph, Tim (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Apel, Derek (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering )
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mining Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The trapped geothermal heat in the infinite rock mass through which mine tunnels are excavated is a great threat to the safety of personnel and mine operating equipment in deep underground hot mines. In order to lessen the temperature inside the tunnel, a considerable amount of energy is being spent by the way of using ventilation and cooling systems to dissipate the heat. However, operational costs of the system increase quite considerably, especially as the mines get deeper. In this research, shotcrete is used both as a structural lining and as an effective thermal insulation to reduce the heat load on the ventilation and cooling system within such tunnels. The research was implemented in both the experimental and theoretical aspects. The experimental aspect, focused on the development of thermal insulation shotcrete. Expanded perlite aggregate (EPA) was firstly introduced into cast concrete mixtures by replacing the sands volumetrically in different ratios. The obtained samples were under the tests of mechanical properties including unconfined compressive strength (UCS) and splitting tensile strength (STS), etc. And thermal properties were derived by the transient plane source (TPS) technique. About 22% to 80% thermal conductivity losses of samples were noticed with the EPA additions, however still with certain strength. And then field shotcreting process was followed in the same mix design, it is found that the UCS and STS of most shotcrete samples were larger than that of cast samples, and the shotcreting process did not have obvious effects on the samples’ thermal properties with regard to cast samples. The theoretical aspect emphasised on the theoretical fundamental for thermal insulation on the surface of infinite rock mass. First, two-layered slab models were considered in both analytical and numerical means. Then, the cylindrical models that are more similar to tunnels for insulation were depicted further. Finally, a full three dimensional metal mine level was numerically simulated to evaluate the heat flow reductions in both full and partial insulation cases, on the basis of the thermal properties from the shotcrete. Results showed excellent heat load reductions in both full and partial insulations, with the developed shotcrete.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Liu, W. V., Apel, D. B. & Bindiganavile, V. (2011) Thermal characterisation of a lightweight mortar containing expanded perlite for underground insulation. International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering, 3, 55-71.

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