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International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

International Journal of
Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijrmms

Time function model of dynamic surface subsidence assessment T


of grout-injected overburden of a coal mine

Binglong Wanga,b, Jialin Xua,b, , Dayang Xuana,b
a
State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, Jiangsu 221116, China
b
School of Mines, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, Jiangsu 221116, China

A R T I C L E I N F O

Keywords:
Overburden grout injection
Subsidence prediction
Knothe time function model
Dynamic surface subsidence

1. Introduction a particularly simple type of single-parameter time function model


because it contains only one easily determined time parameter. Thus, it
Coal-mining-induced surface subsidence is a complex spatio- is often the first choice for use in the prediction of surface sub-
temporal phenomenon. With the progressive mining of the working sidence.3,12 However, since the model was first put forward, a number
face, the surfaces of the affected areas undergo three stages of sub- of researchers have noted its lack of generalisability. To address this
sidence, namely, initial subsidence, active subsidence, and residual issue, the Knothe time function model has been augmented through
subsidence.1 Initial subsidence generally only accounts for 10–15% of various approaches to facilitate its application to different practical
the final subsidence and causes minor ground deformation. Active conditions. Examples of the modified versions are the segmented
subsidence is the principal subsidence corresponding to about 75% of Knothe model,13 exponential Knothe model,14 and Kelvin–Voigt creep
the final subsidence and causes major ground deformation. Residual equation Knothe model,15 which have enabled extended applications.
subsidence may vary from 5% to 10% of the final subsidence and will However, most of the abovementioned time function models were
result in further ground deformation.2 The displacements and de- intended for conventional longwall working faces, and they also rarely
formation that occur in each of these stages significantly affect and may consider the effects of the specific method used to control mining-in-
damage buildings and other surface infrastructure such as railways, duced subsidence. One of the methods used to control mining-induced
roads, and water facilities,1,3 resulting in substantial economic losses.4,5 subsidence is the isolated overburden grout injection technique. The
Hence, to ensure the safety of surface structures, it is necessary to ob- technique involves the drilling of boreholes from the surface down to
tain a thorough understanding of the dynamic changes induced by the bedding separation cavities located at certain heights above the
surface subsidence.6,7 ceiling of a longwall panel for the injection of fly-ash slurry. The in-
Time function models are important for predicting dynamic surface jection compresses the underlying bedding; then, a grouting pillar with
subsidence processes. Numerous time function models have been pro- a certain width can be generated at the centre of the longwall panel.
posed in the literature, and they may be broadly classified into two The grouting pillar works the same way as a coal pillar in partial mining
categories. The first category comprises single-parameter time function (e.g. room and pillar mining); therefore, with the support of the
models, a classic example of which is the Knothe time function model.8 grouting pillar, surface subsidence can be better controlled (refer to
The second category comprises multi-parameter time function models Fig. 1).16–22 The technique has been successfully applied in numerous
such as the Sroka–Schober,9 arc tangent,10 logistic,11 and normal dis- coal mines.17,18 However, previous studies mainly focused on the final
tribution7 models. The predictions of multi-parameter models are more subsidence when the technique was used,22 with very few studies
accurate because they are based on more parameters. However, the considering the dynamic processes of subsidence, especially their
difficulty associated with the determination of these parameters re- quantitative relationships with the grout injection parameters. Owing
duces the practicality of the models. The Knothe time function model is to the limited research and knowledge in this area, subsidence analyses


Corresponding author at: State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, Jiangsu 221116, China.
E-mail address: cumtxjl@cumt.edu.cn (J. Xu).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2018.01.044
Received 27 June 2017; Received in revised form 11 December 2017; Accepted 25 January 2018
1365-1609/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Buildings
Ground surface
Grouting borehole

The injected fill

Grouting pillar Chain pillar Longwall panel Coal seam

Fig. 1. Schematic cross section of the isolated overburden grout injection technique
Fig. 2. Knothe time function curves for various values of the time parameter c.
(after22).

duration of the subsidence is 9 months when c = 0.5 and increases to


during practical grout injection works heavily rely on high-density
23 months when c = 0.2.
surface subsidence measurements. This makes advance predictions
Thus, accurate determination of the time parameter c is important
difficult and hampers on-the-fly control of the grout injection para-
for the accurate prediction of dynamic subsidence. Numerous studies
meters, strongly undermining the protection of surface facilities. Thus,
have investigated the factors that determine c for conventional longwall
the development of a time function model of the dynamic processes of
mining,23–25 and c has been determined to be a location-dependent
the subsidence that occurs during overburden grout injection mining is
constant generally related to the rate of progression of the working face,
of utmost importance.
the lithology of the overburden, and the burial depth. For some working
On the basis of the Knothe time function, we analysed how the
faces, when these conditions are fixed, the value of c can be determined
parameters of the isolated overburden grout injection technique af-
and remains constant with time. However, because the conditions of
fected the time parameter, which represents the difference between
coal mining are highly complex and variable, c substantially differs
conventional longwall mining and mining using the isolated over-
with the location. To address this issue, numerous equations for esti-
burden grout injection technique. On the basis of the findings, we in-
mating c have been proposed.3,23,25
troduced a time parameter cg into the Knothe time function model. The
new developed time function model enabled the modelling of the sur-
face subsidence during mining with overburden grout injection. Case 2.3. Applicability of the Knothe time function to overburden grout injection
studies of different coal mine working faces where the injection tech- mining
nique was employed were used to determine the parameters of the
developed model, the reliability of which was further verified by field To examine the applicability of the Knothe time function model (Eq.
measurement data. (2)) when overburden grout injection is used during mining operations,
we measured the subsidence at the points of maximum subsidence for
2. Theoretical background four different working faces with grout injection in the Huaibei coal-
field and fitted them to the curves predicted by the Knothe time func-
2.1. Knothe time function model tion model (Fig. 3). Although the correlation coefficients of the fits were
as high as 0.81–0.88, the shapes of the fitted curves substantially dif-
To describe the displacement and deformation of the surface with fered from those of the measured data. For example, the subsidence of
time, Knothe, a Polish mining engineer, proposed the Knothe time Longwall 8103 indicated by the fitted curves were significantly larger
function model, which assumes that the rate of subsidence dW (t ) is than the actual measurements up to 5 months, whereas they were sig-
dt
proportional to the difference between the maximum subsidence W0 nificantly lower thereafter (Fig. 3(d)). This shows that the Knothe
and the dynamic subsidence at some time t, W(t), which may be ex- function model does not accurately describe the dynamic processes of
pressed as the subsidence that occurs when overburden grout injection is em-
ployed in coal mining.
dW (t )
= c (W0 − W (t ))
dt (1)
3. Time function model for mining with overburden grout
where c is the time parameter (1/year). Given the initial boundary injection
condition W(t) = 0 at t = 0 (i.e. W(0) = 0), the time function model
may be derived by solving the following first-order linear differential The main cause of the failure of the Knothe time function to cor-
equation:3,8,14 rectly predict the dynamic subsidence during mining with overburden
W (t ) = W0 [1 − exp(−ct )] (2) grout injection is that the time parameter of the function for this mining
technique, cg, distinctly differs from the conventional longwall mining
time parameter c. Ideally, the subsidence is caused by the propagation
2.2. Time parameter c and its determining factors of the fracture cavities in the overburden resulting from the continuous
progression of the mining space.26,27 Compared to conventional long-
The time parameter c is an important parameter for characterising wall mining, mining with the injection of grout into the overburden
the duration of the subsidence process in the Knothe time function eliminates some of the fracture cavities, thereby terminating their
model. The duration of the subsidence is inversely proportional to the propagation to the surface and significantly decreasing the duration of
time parameter c; that is, a larger value of c means that the duration of the surface subsidence. This causes cg to be larger than c.
the subsidence is shorter. Different Knothe time parameter curves may The determination of cg is thus key to the development of a time
be obtained by varying the value of c, as shown in Fig. 2, which con- function model for a longwall working face with overburden grout in-
siders the case where the final subsidence W0 = −1600 mm. The jection. In this section, we first analyse the determining factors of cg and

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B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Fig. 3. Comparison of the measured subsidence of coalmine working faces under overburden grout injection in the Huaibei coalfield with the predictions of the Knothe time function: a)
Longwall 8281, b) Longwall 1018, c) Longwall 1044, and d) Longwall 8103.

the variational characteristics of this parameter, and then derive an of the fill from the coal seam increases. An impact coefficient n may be
expression for cg based on the grout injection parameters. The time introduced on this basis to assess the impact of the height of the stratum
parameter cg is then used to develop a new time function model of of the grout injection (i.e. the distance of the injected fill from the coal
longwall mining with overburden grout injection. Finally, the relevant seam) on the time parameter cg.
parameters of actual mining cases were investigated and used to de- In summary, it may be inferred that cg is affected by the factors that
termine those of the proposed model. affect the conventional time parameter c and is proportionally related
to the n-th power of the fill thickness h. Thus, it is supposed that

3.1. Derivation of an expression for the time parameter cg cg = achn (3)

The time parameter cg of the working faces with overburden grout We have previously established a model of the fill distribution in an
injection is affected by the factors that affect the conventional longwall overburden for the purpose of determining the value of h.21 In the cross
mining time parameter c. However, cg is additionally affected by the section, the fill may be considered to have a graded distribution (Fig. 4),
thickness of the injected fill, h, owing to the filling of the overburden and the relationship between the thickness of the fill within the over-
fracture cavities. Since cg is inversely correlated with the surface sub- burden (at the centre of the working face) and the volume of the
sidence duration, the relationship between cg and h may be determined compacted fill, Q, may be expressed as
by analysing the relationship between the surface subsidence duration
Q = h (W − H1/ tan φ) L (4)
and h. Incidentally, the surface subsidence duration is closely related to
the dimensions of the mining-induced overburden fracture cavities.
where W is the width of the working face (m), φ is the angle of full
Grout injection into the overburden decreases the total number of
subsidence, and the empirical value of 60° was used for the calculation
mining-induced fracture cavities as well as the propagation time of the
in the Huaibei coalfield28; H1 is the distance between the fill and the
fracture cavities toward the surface, thus decreasing the duration of the
ceiling of the coal seam (m); and L is the advancement length of the
surface subsidence. The decrease in the duration of the subsidence
working face in the grout injection area (m). The volume of the fill may
becomes more pronounced as the thickness of the fill increases. This
be expressed as
indicates that the time parameter cg increases in proportion to the
thickness of the fill h. Q = Vf (t + t0) (5)
Because the number of mining-induced fracture cavities varies with
the depth, the effect of the cavities on the duration of surface sub- where Vf is the filling rate of the compacted ash (m3/d); t is the duration
sidence would also vary with the depth. Theoretically, the number of of the subsidence at an arbitrary point on the surface (d); and t0 is the
mining-induced fracture cavities decreases as the vertical horizon from duration of the grout injection prior to the subsidence (d). It should be
the coal seam increases. The effect of the fracture cavities on the noted that Vf is actually a variable, but because it only varies within a
duration of the subsidence thus decreases as the depth of the cavities relatively small range, it may be reasonably approximated by its
decreases. Similarly, for a fill with a given thickness, the duration of the average value.
surface subsidence decreases as the distance of the fill from the coal An expression for the time parameter for mining with overburden
seam increases. Hence, the time parameter cg increases as the distance grout injection may be obtained by combining Eqs. (3)–(5), as follows:

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B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Fig. 4. Schematics of the injected fill: a) three-dimensional view and b) cross-section.

Vf time function includes the mining parameters (the width of the


cg = ac [ ]n (t + t0)n
(W − H1/ tanφ) L (6) working face and the advancement length of the filled area), geolo-
gical parameters (the angle of full subsidence), grout injection para-
Eq. (6) indicates that the Knothe time parameter cg for mining with
meters (the distance of the grout injection stratum from the coal seam,
overburden grout injection is not constant but varies with the geolo-
the filling rate of compacted ash, and the grout injection time before
gical setting of the mine, the grout injection parameters, and the time t.
the onset of subsidence), and other relevant coefficients (the constant
It is noted from Eq. (5) that the time parameter and model are only
a, conventional mining time parameter c, and impact coefficient n).
suitable for calculating the dynamic subsidence of the surface points
The new time function will promote further evaluation of the effec-
that begin to move after grout injection.
tiveness of its subsidence control measures and on-the-fly adjustments
of the grout injection parameters.
3.2. Construction of the time function model
3.3. Parameter determination
Substitution of the time parameter for mining with overburden
grout injection, cg (Eq. (6)), into the Knothe hypothesis (Eq. (1)) gives The developed time function model for mining with overburden
dW (t ) Vf grout injection contains the time parameter c for conventional longwall
= ac [ ]n (t + t0)n [W0 − W (t )] mining, the constant coefficient a, and the impact coefficient n. In this
dt (W − H1/ tanφ) L (7)
study, the time parameter c was first determined using empirical
The time function model of the dynamic subsidence during mining equations available in the literature, and the other two parameters, a
with overburden grout injection may be obtained by solving Eq. (7) and n, were then determined using the subsidence data obtained from
using W(0) = 0: four working faces in the Huaibei coalfield. The geological, mining, and
grout injection parameters of the four working faces are presented in
⎧ ac [Vf /(LW − LH1/ tanφ)]n n + 1 ⎫ Table 2.
W (t ) = W0 1 − exp ⎧ [t0 − (t + t0)n + 1] ⎫
⎨ ⎨ n + 1 ⎬⎬
⎩ ⎩ ⎭⎭
3.3.1. Determination of the conventional time parameter c
(8)
The time parameter for conventional longwall mining, c, was ob-
To explain superiority of the new time function model, we fitted tained using the equation of Hu et al.3:
the subsidence at the points of maximum subsidence in Longwall 8301 v
with overburden grout injection by the new time function model and c=− ln 0.02
2Hs cot ψs + 2Hj cot ψj (9)
widely used models (Table 1). Although the correlation coefficients of
the fits were as high as 0.82–0.98, the previous models were only where ψs and ψj are respectively the angles of the full subsidence of the
mathematical formulas that did not reflect the injected fill char- unconsolidated strata and bedrock (Fig. 5), empirically determined to
acteristics of a working face with overburden grout injection. The new be 45° and 60°, respectively, for the Huaibei coalfield.28 The de-
termined parameters of the working faces were substituted into Eq. (9)
to determine the time parameter c (see Table 3).
Table 1
Fitting results for the subsidence in longwall 8301 by the new time function model and
3.3.2. Determination of the impact coefficient n and constant a
widely used models.
The impact coefficient n and constant a of the four aforementioned
Function R2 working faces could be directly determined by fitting the developed
time function (Eq. (8)) to the measured data of the subsidence with time
1. Knothe W (t ) = W0 [1 − exp(−ct )] 0.82
at the points of maximum subsidence of the considered working faces.
ξ f 0.92
2. Sroka–Schober W (t ) = W0 ⎡1 + exp(−ft ) − exp(−ξt ) ⎤ Because a is a constant, the average value of a for the four working faces
⎣ f−ξ f−ξ ⎦
W0 0.98 (0.18) was adopted as the approximate value of a for the Huaibei
3. Logistic W (t ) =
1 + b exp(−ct )
Mining Area. Fig. 6 shows the fitted curves of the developed time
4. Exponential Knothe W (t ) = W0 [1 − exp(−ct )]k 0.95
function model and the measured subsidence with respect to time of the
5. The new time function 0.99
four considered working faces in the Huaibei coalfield.
ac [Vf / (LW − LH1 / tanφ)]n
{
W (t ) = W0 1 − exp { n+1
[t0n + 1 − (t + t0 )n + 1] }} Next, we developed a method for calculating the impact coefficient
n. According to the definition of n, it is positively correlated with H1.

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B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Table 2
Geological, mining, and grout injection parameters of four grout-injection mining working faces in the Huaibei coalfield.

Working face Hs (m) Hj (m) H1 (m) Vf (m3/d) L (m) W (m) t0 (month) v (m/d)

8281 290 98 60 594 313 161 1.2 3.7


1018 285 317 99 463 498 167 0.7 1.5
1044 350 268 143 350 497 150 2.5 2.0
8103 230 350 150 488 250 184 0.8 2.4

Hs: thickness of the unconsolidated formations; Hj: thickness of the bedrock; v: advancement speed of the working face.

Fig. 5. Schematic of the angle of full subsidence.

Table 3
Parameters of the developed time function model of four working faces in the Huaibei Fig. 7. Comparison of the fitted and measured values of the impact coefficient n of the
coalfield. considered working faces.

Working face Time parameter c Impact coefficient n Constant a


Hence, the fitting of n was performed using H1/Hj, and the relationship
8281 0.65 4.14 0.21
between H1/Hj and n for the working faces of the Huaibei coalfield was
1018 0.19 0.97 0.19
1044 0.23 3.41 0.18 determined to be n = 11H1/Hj – 2.7 (Fig. 7). The fitting revealed that,
8103 0.33 1.62 0.16 for a given bedrock thickness, the effect of the fill thickness on the time
parameter cg increased as the distance of the injection stratum from the
ceiling of the coal seam increased.

Fig. 6. Fitted curves of the developed function model and measured subsidence with respect to time of the four considered working faces: a) Longwall 8281, b) Longwall 1018, c)
Longwall 1044, and d) Longwall 8103.

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B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

Fig. 8. Plan of the 7226 working face and a picture of the nearby surface buildings.

4. Experimental validation injection area are shown in Fig. 8. Detailed descriptions of the grout
injection process and the monitoring of surface subsidence are available
4.1. Geological setting and mining conditions in the work of Teng et al.16

The validity of the developed time function model was verified by


4.2. Extraction of the time function model parameters
using it to predict the dynamic subsidence of the 7226 working face of
the Yuandian No. 2 coal mine in Huaibei, China. The predictions were
The bedrock thickness of the 7226 working face, Hj, is 213 m, and
compared with the field measurements. Numerous buildings are located
the distance of the fill from the coal seam, H1, is 78 m. Substituting
on the surface around the mine working face (Fig. 8), which has a
these values into n = 11H1/Hj – 2.7 yields an impact coefficient n of
mining height, an advancement length, and a mining width of 5.0 m,
1.3. As noted earlier, the value of the constant coefficient a is 0.18. In
860 m, and 180 m, respectively. Because surface buildings are parti-
addition, from Eq. (9), the conventional longwall mining time para-
cularly located beside the termination line of the working face, coal
meter c was determined to be 0.32.
recovery is performed via direct longwall caving over the first 544 m
along the advancement length. To protect the surface buildings, the
isolated overburden grout injection technique is only used over the final 4.3. Results and analyses of the predictions
316 m of the advancement length.
Four grout injection boreholes were directly drilled during extrac- The developed time function model was used to predict the sub-
tion within 316 m of the termination line of Longwall 7226. The first sidence of the B4–B9 monitoring stations (measurement points) of the
was drilled 300 m from the termination line. However, it has been 7226 working face (Fig. 9). The time interval t0 for each of these points
observed from experience that the grout injected through the first is 0.27 months, which implies that grout injection is continuously
borehole does not strictly diffuse in the forward direction owing to the performed for 0.27 months beginning at the onset of surface displace-
difficulty of preventing backward diffusion.22 The backward dispersion ment at the measurement points. It should be noted that the predicted
of the injected grout is estimated to extend over 100 m, which makes values of the final subsidence W0 for measurement points B4–B9 agree
the length of the overburden grout injection area for the working face well with the measured values.
approximately 400 m. Compacted-ash grout was injected through a To quantify the accuracy of the predictions, the following equations
stratum 78 m above the coal seam with an average filling rate of were respectively used to obtain the root mean square errors (RMSEs)
818 m3/d. The subsidence of the surface was observed throughout the and relative standard errors (RSEs) of the predictions relative to the
grout injection process. The measurement points within the grout measured values:

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B. Wang et al. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences 104 (2018) 1–8

function thus adequately reflects the injected fill characteristics of a


working face with overburden grout injection. A method for de-
termining the parameters of the developed model was established
through case studies of several overburden grout injection working
faces in the Huaibei Coalfield. The proposed model was experimentally
validated by field measurements.
However, it is noted that the developed model is only suitable for
working faces with a uniform grout injection rate. Moreover, owing to
some constraints that were imposed during its development, it can only
be used to predict the dynamic subsidence at a surface point that begins
to subside after the commencement of grout injection. In addition, the
values of some of the model parameters determined in this work, such
as a and n, are only suitable for the Huaibei coalfield in China, having
been calibrated on the basis of the conditions of the mining area.
Fig. 9. Comparison of the dynamic subsidence measured at points B4–B9 with the pre- Nonetheless, the proposed dynamic subsidence model promises to sig-
dictions of the developed time function model. nificantly facilitate on-the-fly control of the grout injection parameters
and real-time assessment of surface subsidence.
Table 4
Prediction accuracies for the different measurement points. Acknowledgements

Measurement point RMSE (mm) RSE (%) This study was financially supported by the Natural Science
B4 7.1 7.7
Foundation of China (Grant No. 51604258) and the Independent
B5 7.2 4.7 Research Projects of State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe
B6 12.3 5.3 Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Grant No.
B7 19.7 4.7 SKLCRSM15X06).
B8 30.7 5.5
B9 57.0 8.6
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