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Environmental Earth Sciences

, 76:173 | Cite as

Effect of confining pressure unloading on strength reduction of soft coal in borehole stability analysis

  • Qingquan Liu
  • Yuanping ChengEmail author
  • Kan Jin
  • Qingyi Tu
  • Wei Zhao
  • Rong Zhang
Original Article

Abstract

Underground borehole drilling usually causes instability in the surrounding coal due to in situ stress redistribution (including stress concentration and stress release). However, the mechanisms of unloading-induced coal strength reduction are still poorly understood. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the effect of confining pressure unloading on soft coal strength reduction for borehole stability analysis. A series of mechanical tests were conducted on both the traditionally and newly reconstituted coal samples under two different experimental stress paths, including conventional uniaxial/triaxial compression and triaxial compression with confining pressure unloading. The unloading stress path was obtained by analyzing the stress redistribution around a borehole, to capture a more accurate coal mechanical response. According to our experimental results, plastic deformation generated before failure under the unloading stress path is smaller than that generated under the conventional loading stress path. Furthermore, the cohesion of the traditionally and newly reconstituted samples diminishes approximately by 44.77 and 29.66%, respectively, with confining pressure unloading, indicating that there is a significant reduction in coal strength due to confining pressure unloading. The mechanism for unloading-induced coal strength reduction comes from confining pressure unloading-induced increase in shear stress on the fracture surface and a decrease in shear strength. This effect increases the shear slipping potential, whose driving force generates tension fractures at both ends of the preexisting fractures.

Keywords

Soft coal Borehole stability Strength reduction Loading condition Unloading condition 

List of symbols

P0

Initial in situ stress (MPa)

σr

Tangential stress (MPa)

σrp

Tangential stress in the plastic zone (MPa)

σre

Tangential stress in the elastic zone (MPa)

σθ

Radial stress (MPa)

σθp

Radial stress in the plastic zone (MPa)

σθe

Radial stress in the elastic zone (MPa)

r

Distance from the center of a borehole (m)

ra

The borehole radius (m)

Rp

The radius of the plastic zone (m)

c

Cohesion (MPa)

φ

Internal friction angle (°)

σ

Principal stress (MPa)

τ

Shear stress (MPa)

σp

Peak strength (MPa)

σ1

Compressive strength (MPa)

σ3

Confining pressure (MPa)

σ30

Initial confining pressure (unloading condition) (MPa)

σ3p

Confining pressure measured at the peak strength (unloading condition) (MPa)

ɛ1p

Axial strain measured at the peak strength

ψ

Fitting coefficient

ζ

Fitting coefficient

Abbreviations

CMM

Coal mine methane

ISRM

International Society for Rock Mechanics

AE

Acoustic emission

UCS

Unconfined compressive strength

SEM

Scanning electron microscope

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the financial support from projects funded by Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20160253), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2016M590519), the State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining (No. SKLCRSM16KFB01) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2013QNA03).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingquan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yuanping Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kan Jin
    • 1
  • Qingyi Tu
    • 1
  • Wei Zhao
    • 1
  • Rong Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Engineering Research Center for Coal Gas ControlChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe MiningChina University of Mining and TechnologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Civil, Mining & Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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