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Physical testing of rock support for rockbursting conditions has been carried out for over 40 years. A review of this testing shows that it has been mostly component–based, rather than actually testing support systems. Further, it is concluded that none of the testing is truly representative of rockburst loading in a similitude sense. Similitude conditions are not achievable, mainly because the real conditions in a rockburst event, such as seismic source location and magnitude, wave frequencies, amplitudes, and interactions, are not all known. Because such information is not available, and because the results of all testing carried out to date have not been able to define, for support design purposes, the capacity of support systems, ongoing physical testing of rockburst support systems is essential. It is essential that the test should simulate, or actually take place in, a supported rock excavation. A rock support system is a combination of individual support components that work together to retain and contain the rock. In doing this, the components are subjected to loading by the rock and to interactive loading between one component and another. It is necessary to prove the capacity of such rockburst support systems by subjecting them to severe loading, as in direct blasting. The direct blasting approach, pioneered more than 40 years ago, probably still provides the greatest validity as a significant test of rockburst support capabilities, even though it does not simulate a rockburst. Direct blast testing of rockburst support systems in a surface environment, such as in a quarry or on exposed rock cutting surfaces, could represent a practical development of the approach, facilitating the execution and monitoring of tests.
The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, VOLUME 112, AUGUST 2012
School of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand
South Africa
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