The strength of hard-rock pillars

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Abstract: Observations of pillar failures in Canadian hard-rock mines indicate that the dominant mode of failure is progressive slabbing and spalling. Empirical formulas developed for the stability of hard-rock pillars suggest that the pillar strength is directly related to the pillar width-to-height ratio and that failure is seldom observed in pillars where the width-to-height ratio is greater than 2. Two-dimensional finite element analyses using conventional Hoek-Brown parameters for typical hard-rock pillars (Geological Strength Index of 40, 60 and 80) predicted rib-pillar failure envelopes that did not agree with the empirical pillar-failure envelopes. It is suggested that the conventional Hoek-Brown failure envelopes over predict the strength of hard-rock pillars because the failure process is fundamentally controlled by a cohesion-loss process in which the frictional strength component is not mobilized. Two-dimensional elastic analyses were carried out using the Hoek-Brown brittle parameters which only relies on the cohesive strength of the rock mass. The predicted pillar strength curves were generally found to be in agreement with the observed empirical failure envelopes.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2000 Elsevier. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Martin, C.D., and Maybeeb, W.G. (2000). The strength of hard-rock pillars. International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences, 37, 1239-1246. DOI: 10.1016/S1365-1609(00)00032-0.