Evaluation of air blast parameters in block cave mining using particle flow code
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Air blast, a sudden mass movement of air, can occur in underground mining system where caving develops an extensive mass of unsupported rock spanning a large void. Air blast can result in injury to mine personnel, damage to equipment or disrupts mine operation. Evaluation of air blast parameters is, therefore, an essential part to develop strategies to mitigate the hazard. The properties of a muckpile or a caved zone are significant factors affecting the magnitude of air blast in particular on the undercut and extraction levels. This research investigates the effect of muckpile properties on air flow using the numerical code, PFC2D. The critical parameters such as thickness, block size and porosity (swell factor) of the muckpile have been studied to quantify how much they could change the magnitude of air pressures and velocities while the air flows through the muckpile. It was found that the porosity of the muckpile is the most effective parameter on the magnitude of air blast and by designing a thick layer of blasted rock with low porosity in the caved zone, the intensity of the air blast can be significantly reduced. The findings of this study can be used to design air blast plugs or bulkheads in order to isolate any potential air blast from the active workings, or to quantify the minimum thickness of the muckpile above extraction levels to manage air blast hazards.
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