Compressive behaviour of fibre-reinforced cemented paste backfill

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    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Reinforcement of cemented paste backfill (CPB) with polypropylene fibres was investigated as a way of improving the stability of backfilled underground mine stopes. A series of unconfined compressive strength (UCS) tests were carried out on both non-reinforced and fibre-reinforced cemented tailings. Sandy silt tailings from a nickel mine in Western Australia were used in the study. Ordinary Portland cement at concentrations of 3-5% by weight of tailings and 0-0.5% Adfil-Ignis polypropylene fibres by weight of total solids were used for specimen preparation. The stress-strain curves from the UCS tests showed the inclusion of fibres increased the UCS and significantly reduced the post peak strength loss. Accordingly, the fibre-reinforced specimens were found to be much more ductile than unreinforced specimens, which is highly desirable in many backfill applications. Sliced images acquired from X-ray computed tomography (CT-scan) demonstrated that the observed ductile behaviour of reinforced specimens could be explained by the restraint to crack growth provided by the mobilised fibre tensile strength. At large strains, fibre-reinforced specimens had virtually zero dislodged fragments and retained their integrity as shown in both experimental photos and CT sliced images. This was different from unreinforced specimens, which developed large, wide cracks that resulted in fracturing of the tested specimens. The potential for improving the self-supporting capacity of the fill mass using fibre reinforcing but less cement is discussed and potential advantages, such as reduced ore dilution when excavating adjacent stopes are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-215
    JournalGeotextiles and Geomembranes
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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