Numerical investigation of coal and gas outbursts in underground collieries

T. Xu, C.A. Tang, T.H. Yang, Wancheng Zhu, Jishan Liu

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188 Citations (Scopus)


Coal and gas outbursts are a complex catastrophic unstable phenomenon that involve the ejection of large volumes of coal, and are often accompanied by gas, such as methane, carbon dioxide or a Mixture of the two. Coal and gas outbursts are prevalent in deep and gassy mines where face advance rates are rapid, and where gas drainage is either poor or absent. The occurrence of progressively larger coal and gas outbursts, and the potential for the catastrophic collapse of coal pillars, is of increasing importance as mining is extended deeper in seams rich in methane and other hydrocarbons. A unique coupled gas flow and solid deformation numerical model, viz., RFPA(2D)-GasFIow, has been developed and is applied to Simulate the evolutionary process Of Such catastrophic coal failures in underground collieries. The finite element model. which incorporates the physics of as flow in the coal seam. the physics of coal deformation and instantaneous failure, and the cross-couplings between them. is proposed. The model also incorporates small-scale variability in deformation modulus and strength of the coal and surrounding rock. The variability in modulus and strength is distributed via a fine-scale resolution model according to the Weibull distribution. where the distribution parameter determines the level of heterogeneity. This numerical model is applied to simulate the whole process of coal and gas Outbursts. including stress concentration, coal fracturing, gas pressure-driven expansion. and outburst. The instantaneous Outburst process and associated stress fields. gas pressure gradients and displacement vectors Lire presented step by step. The numerical simulations indicate that the instantaneous outburst is a complex phenomenon involving interactions between gas pressure. stress and the physico-mechanical properties of the coal., and it can occur under a variety of conditions. Successful numerical simulation of the whole coal and gas outburst process provides the basis for identifying the outburst mechanisms, parameterizing the causative processes. and to defining potential precursors of failure. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-919
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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