Effects of dynamic loading on the geomechanical behaviour of cemented paste backfill

Gonzalo Hernan Suazo Fuentealba

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated] Backfill is any material that is placed underground to fill the voids (stopes) left after the process of extracting minerals from crushed rock. Cemented Paste Backfill (CPB) is one of these materials, which consists of a mixture of full stream tailings, a small percentage of cement and water. Underground space is a dynamic environment that subjects these fills to a series of dynamic loading resulting from blasting and seismic events. Refracted stress waves at the CPB-rock interface can increase the shear and compressive stresses in the fill. As a result, excess pore water pressures may develop and liquefaction can eventually be triggered. Liquefaction might cause the failure of the retaining barricade constructed at the bottom of the stope since total pressure can rise to as high as the full hydrostatic head of the fill. However, the amount of dynamic energy transmitted to the fill as well as the liquefaction risk, greatly diminishes as the fill desaturates and negative water pressures arise in the pore space. In this context, the primarily objective of this thesis is to evaluate the liquefaction susceptibility of CPB at early curing ages due to seismic and blasting stress waves. In addition, the propagation phenomena of compressional waves in CPB, the effects of degree of saturation on stress wave refraction at CPB interfaces and the blast response of a backfilled stopes are explored. Finally, the evolution of unsaturated CPB properties and the mechanism of desaturation of the fill are investigated. This research consisted of in situ and experimental testing, and a numerical modelling component.

    Direct simple shear (DSS) tests were conducted to study the cyclic undrained shear response of CPB. The effects of confining stress, initial static shear stress and void ratio on the liquefaction resistance of uncemented fine-grained tailings was firstly researched. Then, the cyclic response of cemented tailings prepared at different curing ages, cement contents and initial void ratios, was examined. The material, independently of the degree of cementation, showed a predominantly cyclic mobility type response with large degradation of shear stiffness at advanced numbers of shear cycles. However, no flow type of failure was observed in any of the tests conducted. The overburden stress correction factor was found to decrease with increasing confining stresses in the range 100 to 400 kPa and to gradually increase from 400 kPa onwards, when samples were tested at the same initial void ratio. Similarly, higher cement contents, longer curing periods or higher initial solids contents were found to increase liquefaction resistance. A unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of about 70kPa, which corresponds to a shear wave velocity of 220 m/s, was found to be adequate to resist liquefaction under a large earthquake-induced cyclic stress ratio (CSR).
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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