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Geomechanical Numerical Analysis as a Guidance for Preservation Works of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine Site

Abstract

Salt was excavated at the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine for over 700 years. Underground mining operations terminated in 1996, by which time almost 2,400 chambers and 245 km of galleries had been created underground, situated on 9 levels and a few interlevels. In 1978, the mine was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which stated that parts of the mine with historical value had to be preserved for future generations. In order to preserve the most valuable chambers and galleries, activities aimed at establishing a protection pillar for excavations were conducted in the conservation area on Levels I-V. The need of large scope preserving works created the necessity to conduct a new and truly comprehensive geomechanical analysis. Such an analysis could only be done by means of advanced numerical modelling codes. Three-dimensional calculations were performed by means of FLAC 3D finite difference code. Rock mass stability assessment in the vicinity of excavations was carried out on the basis of the distribution and range of the so called failure zones. This comprehensive geomechanical analysis allows for verification and give the directions for future preservation and closure works in the “Wieliczka” mine.

Open access
Method for Assessment of Changes in the Width of Cracks in Cement Composites with Use of Computer Image Processing and Analysis

Abstract

Crack width measurement is an important element of research on the progress of self-healing cement composites. Due to the nature of this research, the method of measuring the width of cracks and their changes over time must meet specific requirements. The article presents a novel method of measuring crack width based on images from a scanner with an optical resolution of 6400 dpi, subject to initial image processing in the ImageJ development environment and further processing and analysis of results. After registering a series of images of the cracks at different times using SIFT conversion (Scale-Invariant Feature Transform), a dense network of line segments is created in all images, intersecting the cracks perpendicular to the local axes. Along these line segments, brightness profiles are extracted, which are the basis for determination of crack width. The distribution and rotation of the line of intersection in a regular layout, automation of transformations, management of images and profiles of brightness, and data analysis to determine the width of cracks and their changes over time are made automatically by own code in the ImageJ and VBA environment. The article describes the method, tests on its properties, sources of measurement uncertainty. It also presents an example of application of the method in research on autogenous self-healing of concrete, specifically the ability to reduce a sample crack width and its full closure within 28 days of the self-healing process.

Open access
Preliminary Investigations of Creep Strain of Neogene Clay from Warsaw in Drained Triaxial Tests Assisted by Computed Microtomography

Abstract

The study concerns soil creep deformation in multistage triaxial stress tests under drained conditions. High resolution X-ray computed microtomography (XμCT) was involved in structure recognition before and after triaxial tests. Undisturbed Neogene clay samples, which are widespread in central Poland, were used in this study. XμCT was used to identify representative sample series and informed the detection and rejection of unreliable ones. Maximum deviatoric stress for in situ stress confining condition was equal 95.1 kPa. This result helped in the design of further multistage investigations. The study identified the rheological strain course, which can be broken down into three characterizations: decreasing creep strain rate, transitional constant creep velocity, and accelerating creep deformation. The study found that due to multistage creep loading, the samples were strengthened. Furthermore, there is a visibly “brittle” character of failure, which may be the consequence of the microstructure transformation as a function of time as well as collapse of voids. Due to the glacial tectonic history of the analyzed samples, the reactivation of microcracks might also serve as an explanation. The number of the various sizes of shear planes after failure is confirmed by XμCT overexposure.

Open access
Structural and Textural Characteristics of Selected Copper-Bearing Rocks as One of the Elements Aiding in the Assessment of Gasogeodynamic Hazard

Abstract

The characteristics of copper-bearing rocks that include the structural and textural parameters are an important factor determining a possible gas accumulation in those rocks. In September 2009, in the Rudna copper mine in Poland, an outburst of gases and dolomite occurred. The analysis of the outburst mass showed that one of the main causes of the outburst was the different structural properties such as high porosity and presence of gas in the pores. This paper presents data from the structural analysis of dolomite from the Polkowice-Sieroszowice copper mine and the Rudna copper mine. Seven rock samples from various areas of the mines were tested by the following methods: mercury porosimetry (MIP), low pressure gas adsorption (LPNA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), computed microtomography (micro-CT). The SEM analyses of the rock samples allowed pores of various sizes and shapes to the observed. The porosity (MIP) of the dolomite changed in the range of 3-15%. The total micro and mesopore volume (LPNA) was from 0.002 cm3/g to 0.005 cm3/g. The macropore volume (MIP) was from 0.01 cm3/g to 0.06 cm3/g and the mean macropore diameter was from 0.09 μm to 0.18 μm. The dolomite samples varied in the surface area (LPNA) (0.7-1.5 m2/g) and the pore distribution. The structure of dolomite determines the possibility of the occurrence of gasogeodynamic phenomena and hence it is urgent that research be conducted into its changeability. To better understand the gasogeodynamic processes in copper-bearing rocks, it is necessary to constantly monitor and analyse in detail those areas that have different structural properties.

Open access
Temperature Changes in the Vicinity of Thermally Loaded Structure Embedded in the Soil: Effect of Sand Content and Saturation Degree

Abstract

Due to the rapid development of geothermal technologies, the problem of efficient and proper evaluation of soil thermal conductivity becomes extremely important. Factors mostly affecting the soil conductivity are the conductivity of solid phase and the degree of saturation. The former one is mainly affected by the mineral composition, in particular, by the content of quartz whose conductivity is the highest one among all the minerals forming soil skeleton. Organic matter, because of its relatively low conductivity, influences the solid conductivity as well. The problem addressed in the paper is the influence of mentioned factors on temperature changes in the vicinity of thermally loaded structure embedded in the soil medium. Numerical simulations are carried out for different values of soil thermal conductivity resulting from various quartz contents and degrees of saturation. In addition, a weak coupled - heat and water transport - problem is considered.

Open access
The Use of a Unipore Diffusion Model to Describe the Kinetics of Methane Release from Coal Spoil in the Longwall Environment

Abstract

The unipore methane diffusion model based on the solution of the second Fick’s law describes effectively the kinetics of methane release from coal grains. The knowledge of the model describing the kinetics of methane release from coal, the coalbed methane content, the sorption isotherm, the effective diffusion coefficient and the coal particle size distribution, enables the calculation of the volume of methane which is released from the coal spoil as a function of time. These assumptions became the basis for building the software that enables the analysis of methane emissions from coal during the longwall mining. Simulations were performed to determine the temporal and spatial methane inflow to the longwall. The share of methane emission from coal grains (taking into account both the emission kinetics and mass participation) of various classes has been analyzed. The results of the analysis showed that the methane from the small grains, in particular less than 0.1 mm in size, prevails. The mass fraction of these grains in the total weight does not exceed 5%. For the typical parameters determining the mining, geological and technological conditions of methane emissions at different moments of time and position of the longwall were determined.

Open access
Deformability Parameters of Varved Clays From the Iłów (Central Poland) Area Based on the Selected Field Tests

Abstract

This publication presents the results of research carried out for the ice-dammed clays of the Iłów region, formed during Vistula glaciation. Pressuremeter tests, dilatometer tests and static probes were made. The tests were performed on the study site in Piskorzec near Iłów. In this region, ice-dammed clays are present almost from the land surface reaching the thickness of about 11 m. This site is the westernmost experimental site of clays of the “Warsaw Ice-Dammed Lake” among those presented in the literature. Research and their analysis showed differences in deformability due to the test procedure in connection with the structure of varved clays. Pressuremeter test, even though it is the most time consuming and challenging among the tests performed, allows the most complete characteristics of deformability of varved clays to be obtained. Vertical profile of clays being studied appears to be fairly homogeneous in terms of mechanical properties. Nevertheless, some parts of the profile clearly differ from the average values. This indicates the rate of post sedimentary changes varied in different parts of research profile. The data obtained are consistent with the values for ice-dammed clays from Radzymin and Sochaczew areas. Comparison of the engineering properties of varved clays to other experimental sites points to their similar geological history. It confirms that the experimental sites belong to one ice-dammed lake covering the areas of the Warsaw Basin.

Open access
The Efficiency of an Active Generator in the Case of a Deep Foundation Location

Abstract

This paper presents a concept for vibration-mitigation techniques with the potential to reduce ground vibration amplitudes by applying an additional vibration source. The idea of an additional generator is verified in the case of an impact load for the points located on the ground surface and below it. Equations of motion for the damped transversally isotropic ground model with the absorbing boundary conditions are presented and numerically integrated using FlexPDE software, based on the finite element method. The efficiency of the solution is analyzed in terms of reducing the vertical and horizontal components. Results are presented in the form of a dimensionless amplitude reduction factor. In each case being analyzed, a vibration mitigation effect in a three-story building was achieved.

Open access
The Impact of Multiple Seam Mining Exploitations on Seismic Activity and State of Stress

Abstract

The paper presents an analysis of seismic activity for selected areas of hard coal mine executing exploitation in a rock mass with a variable degree of rock disturbance, i.e., also with a varied number of previous mined-out seams. A distribution of vertical stress and a value of vertical stress concentration coefficient were also determined in the strata of immediate roof of the seams planned for mining. In the analyzed case, despite the lack of thick and solid strata of sandstones in the roof, the rock mass emits seismic activity, where the energy largely depends upon an impact of exploitation edges and tectonic disturbance.

Open access
The Impact of the Low Throw Fault on the Stability of Roadways in a Hard Coal Mine

Abstract

Ensuring roadways stability in hard coal mines is one of the main challenges faced by engineers. A changeable geological structure have caused the roadway’s conditions to vary, thus influencing its stability. One of the causes of those changes is the presence of a previously undiscovered fault zone (small faults crossed the roadway) within which a significant convergence or support deformation may occur.

The paper presents the impact of low throw faults on the degree of convergence of roadways. Convergence is determined for two roadways in the hard coal mine. A special measuring stations have been installed in one of the roadways, and they have carried out constant measurements for 15 months. In the other roadway, the degree of convergence has been determined on the basis of an on-site verification and comparison of the measurements obtained and the initial values, based on the roadway’s records.

On the basis of the obtained convergence results, the impact of a single fault and the entire fault zone on the roadway stability has been determined. The impact of a single, low throw fault results in a 30% higher vertical convergence than in the case of roadways free of geological disturbance. In the roadway section located in the fault zone, vertical convergence is 4 times higher than in the case of sections free of disturbance impact. The floor heaving constitutes ca. 90% of vertical convergence both for roadway sections situated within the faulted zones and for sections free of the influence of any additional factors.

Open access