Open Access
Naeimipour, Ali
Graduate Program:
Mining Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 02, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Jamal Rostami, Dissertation Advisor
  • Borehole probing
  • Rock Characterization
  • Scratch Test
  • Instrumented roofbolter
  • Geophysics
Collecting geological information allows for optimizing ground control measures in underground structures. This includes understanding of the joints and discontinuities and rock strength to develop rock mass classifications. An ideal approach to collect such information is through correlating the drilling data from the roofbolters to assess rock strength and void location and properties. The current instrumented roofbolters are capable of providing some information on these properties but not fully developed for accurate ground characterization. To enhance existing systems additional instrumentation and testing was conducted in laboratory and field conditions. However, to define the geology along the boreholes, the use of probing was deemed to be most efficient approach for locating joints and structures in the ground and evaluation of rock strength. Therefore, this research focuses on selection and evaluation of proper borehole probes that can offer a reliable assessment of rock mass structure and rock strength. In particular, attention was paid to borehole televiewer to characterize rock mass structures and joints and development of mechanical rock scratcher for determination of rock strength. Rock bolt boreholes are commonly drilled in the ribs and the roof of underground environments. They are often small (about 1.5 inches) and short (mostly 2-3 meter). Most of them are oriented upward and thus, mostly dry or perhaps wet but not filled with water. No suitable system is available for probing in such conditions to identify the voids/joints and specifically to measure rock strength for evaluation of rock mass and related optimization of ground support design. A preliminary scan of available borehole probes proved that the best options for evaluation of rock structure is through analysis of borehole images, captured by optical televiewers. Laboratory and field trials with showed that these systems can be used to facilitate measurement of the location, frequency and partially condition of discontinuities. Two of the more promising tools have been tested during this project, which are QL40OBI Optical TV and Slim Borehole Scanner (SBS) manufacture by ALT-Mount Sopris and DMT, respectively. The field experiment with QL40OBI showed that the images generated for downward and sub-horizontal boreholes are of good quality and can be used to evaluate the joint conditions. However, this device is not suitable for use inside the upward drillholes. The Slim Borehole Scanner (SBS) manufactured by DMT in Germany has the required features for borescoping the roofbolt holes. This includes the ease of operation and suitable geometry along with an unwrapped 360-degree picture of the borehole wall. This instrument was concluded to be the best option yet for obtaining images from boreholes with any arbitrary orientation. In addition, a new tool, called Rock Strength Borehole Probe (RSBP), was developed for estimation of the rock strength through scratching the rock surface in the borehole. This device is designed to be a light, flexible, quick, non disruptive, and cost effective alternative to estimate the rock strength inside the boreholes in underground mines and tunnels. An extensive number of laboratory tests under variable conditions were conducted to develop equations to estimate the Uniaxial Compressive Strength (UCS) and Brazilian Tensile Strength (BTS) of the rock from measured cutting forces. In these experiments, 27 different rock types were tested by full scale scratch tests, including the cutting tests by a miniature disc. The results show a good correlation between the normal force and the compressive strength of sedimentary/metamorphic rock if the depth of scratch is known. No significant correlation was observed for igneous rocks, due to the impacts of grain size. Current studies show promising results for using RSBP. The laboratory and field tests proved the functionality of this tool. This probe is capable of entering boreholes of 45 mm (1¾ in) diameter in any direction and create a groove on the walls and by measurement of the location and cutting forces, estimate rock strength. Additional testing in various underground operations are needed for fine tune the operational features of this probe and make it more accurate. The combination of rock strength and joint conditions will allow for development of rock mass classification that could be used for 3D imaging of the ground conditions around an underground opening as well as hazard maps for the roof.