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Introduction to Rockbolting

Rockbolts are now the primary means of roof support in modern underground mining,
replacing timber prop and crib methods. This has been attributed to the increased safety
and productivity gained in their use (Peng and Tang, 1984).

Rockbolts provide strata control through the limitation of deformation, resistance to
free-body movement and crack confinement within the rockmass.

Brady and Brown (1985) identified four objectives for the application of rockbolting in
the mining industry, these being:

The ensuring of overall stability of the mine structure

Protection of major service openings throughout their designed life

The provision of safe and secure access to working areas

Preservation of unmined reserves in a mineable state

Rockbolting is not limited to soft rock roof support, but also rib support in coal mining,
and drive support in hard rock mining.

Applications are also found in civil and

construction fields as slope and structural control.



Types of Rockbolts

While there are ma ny different rockbolts currently on the market, all can be classified
based on the length of anchorage used. These are:

Point anchorage

Full-length anchorage

Table 1 provides a summary of different rockbolt techniques; including anchorage
method and the strata type that is suitable for that rockbolt.

Table 1: Types of Rockbolts - simplified (Peng and Tang, 1984)




Anchorage Method


Slot and Wedge


Primitive method

Expansion Shell


Common in USA

Expansion Shell Bail Anchor
Grout (Resin or

Resin Cartridge


All, esp. soft



Suitable Strata

All, esp. soft
Grout Most

(Pumped into hole)
Split Set

Can be used in combination with
expansion shell anchor
Very common method
Disadvantages include shrinkage
and long setting time


Cheap, but require specialised


Hard Rock

HP water used to swell tube within


Point-anchored Rockbolts

Point-anchored rockbolts are common in competent ground conditions, such as those
encountered in hard rock mining applications.

With the development of resin

technology, the use of resin rather than cementitous or mechanical anchorage has been
favoured where appropriate.

The two families of point-anchored support systems are mechanical and grouted

Mechanical Anchorage

This anchorage system relies on the development of physical interlock between the
rockbolt and the surrounding rock. Rockbolts using this system are slot and wedge
rockbolts, or more commonly, the expansion shell rockbolt.

A Point-anchored expansion shell rockbolt is shown in Figure 1 with components
labelled. An expansion shell rockbolt is anchored through the application of torque to
the tendon, and this then expands the serrated leaves of the shell into the borehole.

Figure 1: Point-Anchored Rockbolt (Stillborg, 1994)

1997). bonding the rockbolt to the rock. If used in weaker rocks.2 Grouted Anchorage Grouted anchorage systems substitute a resin or cementitous grout for the mechanical anchor.1. lessening mechanical interlock and resulting in decreased anchor strength (Wagner. limiting application to strata with uniaxial compressive strengths of greater than 50MPa. This system provides higher load capacity and the grout encapsulation length can be adjusted according to in situ conditions (Peng and Tang.2 • Summary of Point-anchored Rockbolts Advantages: o Supports high loads o Quick and simple to install • Disadvantages: o High contact stresses at anchorage and borehole collar.1.1. 2. 2. localised fracturing may occur about the anchorage.1. that can lead to localised fracturing and reduction in tendon tension o Mechanical anchor and tendon susceptible to corrosion o Resistance to shear displacement of strata limited o Anchorage reliant on presence of competent rock horizon o Failure of point anchorage which then leads to total loss of load bearing capacity of rockbolt .-5- High contact stresses are generated between the shell and the rock. 1984).1.

and unlike split-set rockbolts. Figure 2: Friction Rockbolt (Stillborg. 1994) Swellex These operate on the same frictional model as the split set. The two major full-length anchorage methods are friction and grouting.1. This provides immediate support.-6- 2. The mechanism of anchorage is distinct to that of point-anchored rockbolts. but the tube is placed into a slightly larger borehole and water is pumped in to pressurise and expand the tube. with the borehole along the full length of the rockbolt. this being of a slightly smaller diameter than that of the expanded tube. as shown in Figure 2. 2. . either directly or via grout. and developments in resin technology have advanced their use throughout the mining industry.1.3 Full-length Anchored Rockbolts Full-length anchored rockbolts have continuous contact. forcing the tube against the borehole.1. Frictional resistance acts along the length of the tube.1 Friction Rockbolts Split Sets Consist of a hollow steel tube slotted along the entire length and tapered at one end. relies on hydraulic rather than physical energy for installation. The tube then acts to generate a radial force onto the borehole wall. The tube is forced into the borehole.3.1.

application is limited to hard rock. Technological developments in grout chemistry.1. increased production. the rockbolt is grouted into the borehole with either a cementitous or two-part resin grout.3. 1997) Grouted rockbolts may be characterised into one of three groups (Peng and Tang. Wagner. 1997). An installed rockbolt is shown in Figure 3. 1975. susceptibility to corrosion and a small capacity for deformation limit Swellex rockbolts to hard rock conditions. as the time saved over installation of tensioned rockbolts outweighs the minimal support benefits gained through the tensioning process (Haas. . 1976). 2. Nitzche.2 Grouted Rockbolts For this method.-7- However. Thus. and today are the primary means of support of mine roadways (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant. 1992. providing continuous contact between the encapsulated rockbolt and the borehole surface. Grouted rockbolts have been developed to cope with severe roof conditions. and other competent strata conditions (Wagner. and the widespread integration of grouted rockbolts into mining systems. 1984). have resulted in safety improvements. Cementitous grout has high strength and elastic modulus.1. 1984): • Untensioned • Pretensioned • Post-tensioned Untensioned grouted rockbolts are most commonly used. but requires time to reach full strength. improved ventilation and reductions in costs (Peng and Tang.

where high strength and rapid curing times are required. .-8- Figure 3: Fully Encapsulated Rockbolt (Stillborg. 1994) Polyester resin grout is suited to soft and weak rocks. The resin is usually supplied in cartridge form. with the action of the spinning rockbolt rupturing the plastic wrapping and mixing the resin mastic and catalyst.

2 Rockbolt Mechanics This section details the mechanisms of interaction between rockbolt. 1997): • To prevent strata separation and uncontrolled roof failure • To maintain and enhance the strength properties of rockmass through mobilisation of frictional forces The support mechanisms through which rockbolting systems achieve strata control can be summarised as follows (Whitaker.2. resin and rockmass that govern performance.1 Support Mechanisms The objectives of strata control are (Wagner. and this depends on (Bieniawski. 1998): • Suspension of thin stratum from massive upper strata • Beam building (friction effect) • Formation of a rock arch • Pinning . 1987): • Dimensions of the opening • Geotechnical properties of surrounding rock • Levels of acceptable deformation in the opening 2. The principle objective of support systems is to provide support to the rockmass itself.-9- 2.

such as an overlying massive strata. with consideration given to high contact stresses around mechanically anchored rockbolts . Stable Horizon Supporting Tendons Immediate Roof Slab Figure 4: Cross-Section of Drive.1.2.. or stiffer stratum.1 Suspension of thin stratum Thin strata layers in the immediate roof can be supported through suspension by rockbolts anchored in a stable strata horizon. suspension of thin roof slab shown (Wagner. as shown in Figure 4.10 - 2. 1997): • Rockbolt anchorage load capacity must be greater than the weight of the roof layer to be supported • Support factor of safety must be appropriate • Rockbolt spacing must consider thin strata sagging between rockbolts • Critical length of anchorage must be recognised • Anchorage stratum must be competent. 1997) Design of a support system through the suspension mechanism must consider the following factors (Wagner.

resistance to horizontal shearing is increased (Snyder. it is advantageous for the rockbolts to be pre.2.2 Beam Building Beam building theory is applied where the strata are thinly laminated and a competent layer is out of practical rockbolting range. 1983) . Thus..11 - 2. thus generating frictional shearing. multiple beams then become a single beam. This thick beam provides increased effective stiffness and strength.1. and tension in the immediate roof layers.or post-tensioned. as this ensures that a normal force will be acting to clamp layers together before strata deformation occurs. 1997) When the beam deflects. compression occurs in the upper layers. By clamping together through rockbolting these layers. as shown in Figure 5: Laminated Stratum Figure 5: Cross-Section of Drive. This results in differential movement between layers. Resistance to this mechanism is through the following: • Cohesion between layers • Frictional resistance between layers • Clamping force acting normal to the layers As untensioned rockbolts rely on deformation to generate normal forces. Beam Formation (Wagner.

Propagation of these cracks leads to failure. 2 (σ x )max = wL 2t Equation 1: Bending Stress (τ )max = 3wL xy 4 Equation 2: Shear Stress where: w = unit weight of immediate roof rock L = roof span (m) t = thickness of formed rock beam (m) As the roof span increases. tension cracks appear mid-span on the base of the beam and near the ends of the beam of the top. is determined with Equation 3. with displacement increasing as span increases and thickness decreases.12 - Panek (1956) applied beam mechanics to this mechanism. . δ. τxy. σ x. at any point of the beam. δ= wL4 32Et 2 Equation 3: Maximum Displacement of Beam where: E = Youngs modulus Equation 3 demonstrates that displacement is highly susceptible to changes in the beams dimensions. and shearing stress. determining stresses in terms of bending stress.. The maximum displacement of the beam. The normal and shear stress components are shown in Equation 1and Equation 2.

and the systematic placement of supporting rockbolts to establish a compressive rock arch. the Voussoir arch method aims to enhance the natural load distribution arching effect. In blocky ground.2. cable bolts are also used to maximise support effectiveness. . 1997) Wright (1973) discussed the Voussoir arch.. though jointing in stratum is possible. In addition to rockbolts. This mechanism relies on the identification of critical blocks to be supported. load is distributed around the opening as an arch. Hence. Wright also explained how a cracked mine roof will unload. shown in Figure 6. Thus. and within the rock a distributed load arch will form.3 Voussoir Arch Compressive rock arches are formed in a jointed rockmass to provide a competent rockmass surrounding the opening. with load transferred to the walls of the opening.1. explaining that the blocks in the immediate roof become self-supporting. and to increase the scope of the compressive arch. Compression Zone Figure 6: Formation of Rock Arch (Wagner.13 - 2. It should be noted that this mechanism is rarely encountered in soft rock mining. shotcrete and mesh can also be used to bind the surface together.

Examples of conditions where keying is appropriate include zones of localised roof failure.2. where spot bolting is carried out to prevent perceived possible failure of unstable rock wedges and blocks. 1998).1.14 - 2.4 Keying of Blocks Keying of blocks is a secondary support measure.. in a jointed rockmass and in locations where rib spall is likely (Whitaker. W-straps and mesh can also be used to prevent roof surface movement. .

15 - 2. in situations where shearing between strata occurs. often the rockbolt will be acting through different strata layers.1 Point-anchored Rockbolts While a point-anchored rockbolt may be capable of sustaining tensile loading equal to that of a resin-encapsulated rockbolt. it must be noted that this loading is transferred to the rockmass only at the anchor point and borehole collar (Gray et al. the performance of the system relies of the performance of the anchor and collar. which must transfer loading onto the tendon. due to the absence of a grout between the tendon and the rock (Eaton.2.2.2 Anchorage Mechanisms Rockbolts provide support and reinforcement to strata through transferral of their strength and stiffness characteristics to the surrounding rockmass.2. This is why FERB will perform better than point-anchored rockbolts. and the total tensile capacity of the rockbolt may never be achieved. The mechanism by which rockbolts transfer support capacity to the rock is termed “load transfer”. The non-encapsulated portion of the rockbolt carries the load generated between the anchor and the collar. individual stratum stresses will load cumulatively along the entire length of the rockbolt. Also. while localised contact stresses acting at these points can lessen this performance.. 2. Thus. each with individual mechanical properties and stress conditions. Also. 1998). considerable displacement will occur before the rockbolt can provide restraint. The driving factor in the growth of Fully Encapsulated Resin Bolt (FERB) use in mines in the past three decades is a more effective load transfer capacity over point-anchored or friction rockbolts in most geomechanical conditions. . 1993). Unlike resin-encapsulated rockbolts.

the anchorage force is proportional to the axial force. Load capacity is independent of tendon length.1 Mechanically Point-anchored Rockbolts The anchorage mechanism of mechanical anchors is shown in Figure 7. The load capacity of the mechanical anchor rockbolt is governed by anchor contact stresses and shear strength of the strata in which the anchor is placed.2. An anchorage force “FH” is created by the action of the expansion shell.2. Thus..1. as well as the axial force “F B” acting on the tendon (Kovac. FB Figure 7: Mechanically Point-anchored Rockbolt Anchorage Mechanism (Wagner.16 - 2. 1997) . 1999).

the mechanically point-anchored rockbolt functions as a clamp. as shown in Figure 8. and acquired load will be distributed evenly along the rockbolt length. Figure 8: Mechanically Point-anchored Rockbolt Load Distribution (Briggs. load capacity can only be transferred to the strata through these points. acting at the anchor point and the borehole collar..17 - The relationship between anchorage and axial forces can be represented thus: FH = β FB Equation 4: Relationship between anchorage and axial forces where: FH = anchorage force FB = axial force β = Constant. 1996) . dependent on expansion shell and rock strength In effect. cumulative axial load can be measured at the collar. Thus. Hence.

2 Resin and grout Point-anchored Rockbolts In the case of resin or cementitous grout anchorage.2. 1996).18 - 2.2. F H.1. FH. LE (Kovac. and Effective Encapsulation Length. the anchorage force.. dependant on load transfer characteristics of system This relationship can also be interpreted as shown in Figure 9. is proportional to the encapsulation length (Wagner. This relationship can be expressed as: FH = αLE Equation 5: Relationship between anchorage force and encapsulation length where: FH = anchorage force LE = effective encapsulation length α = Constant. Figure 9: Relationship between Anchorage Force. 1999) .

as strata separation occurs. a cumulative axial load will be placed on the unencapsulated tendon. Cumulative load can be measured at the borehole collar. Figure 10: Grout Point-anchored Rockbolt Load Distribution (Briggs..19 - Thus. through load transfer mechanisms. 1996) . This is illustrated in Figure 10. This axial load will then diminish to zero at the top of the tendon.

is based on the length of encapsulation along which load transfer occurs. or the rock surrounding the anchor may fail through excessive contact stresses.2. Thus. A fully encapsulated rockbolt is considered more effective. while full load capacity for the tendon may not be reached. 1996). Thus. A comparison between forces generated on FERB and mechanically point-anchored systems is shown in Figure 11.2 Fully Encapsulated Rockbolts The main failing of point-anchored rockbolts is that system capacity is often dependent on the performance of that anchorage point. This will be discussed in following chapters.20 - 2.2. The effective length of encapsulation. the system may fail through anchor failure. Figure 11: Comparison between Support Capacity of Fully Encapsulated and Point-anchored Rockbolts . as the mechanism of load capacity may allow maximum support capacity to be achieved at multiple locations along the tendon (Gray et al.. LE. rather than the full length of the encapsulated rockbolt (Wagner. the performance of FERB is dictated by load transfer characteristics of the support system. 1998).

. .2 Displacement-controlled Loading The driving component of this condition is deformation and buckling of strata layers along bedding planes.21 - 2. In this condition.2.1 Loading Conditions Weight-controlled Loading The weight of the rock to be supported drives this condition.2. as well as providing shear resistance.2. Both pointanchored mechanical and resin-encapsulated rockbolts can be used in this condition. The rockbolts support the rock by countering this weight. as they act to clamp layers together. 2.3 2.3. the application of rockbolts is to bind individual stratum together.3. minimising separation and differential shearing. using the suspension support mechanism. Fully encapsulated rockbolts are more effective than point-anchored rockbolts.

1.1.1 Tendon From an operations perspective.1 Mechanical Properties The mechanical properties of the tendon must be adequate for the loading conditions expected.1 Components of FERB The widespread use of FERB has given the mining industry improved control over strata conditions.. While the majority of tendons are steel. and variations within these factors will alter performance considerably.3. specialised rockbolts of fibreglass and plastic composites are also available.22 - 2. 2. the tendon should be of low cost. .3. improved ventilation and reduced costs (Peng and Tang. Mechanical properties. The three general components of FERB are: • Tendon • Bearing plate (including nut) • Resin 2. the tendon must be able to withstand the stresses placed upon it by the surrounding strata (Eaton.3. increased safety and production. 1993). relative dimensions and geometry all contribute greatly. 1984).3 Fully Encapsulated Resin Bolts (FERB) 2. as well as easy to transport.1. That is. The tendon itself dominates the performance of the support system. store and install.

beyond this strength. . That is.. Figure 12: Typical Stress/Strain Relationship for Rockbolt Steels (SCT.23 - Typical mechanical characteristics of rockbolt steel are shown in Figure 12. with points of interest labelled. and after which plastic behaviour occurs. Elastic Modulus The elastic modulus of steel used for rockbolt tendons is commonly 200-220 GPa. 1996) where: R = Elastic Strain P = Yield Point M = Ultimate Strength B = Breaking Strength C = Breaking Strain Yield Strength Yield strength is the stress at which the tendon no longer will behave elastically. deformation will proceed with little additional loading.

after which the failure process begins. Thus. ANI Arnall. physical failure. Table 2: Yield and Ultimate Strengths for a range of Rockbolt steel grades (ANI Arnall. after which failure of the bar begins through necking. this allows determination of available elongation of the tendon. which sheds load and lowers stress. Rockbolt manufacturers commonly offer a variety of steel strengths for each tendon design. formerly ANI Arnall (Celtite. 1999) Company Celtite ANI Arnall Strength (kN) Load Point Standard Grade High Grade Extra High Grade Yield 125 182 220 Ultimate 174 302 344 Yield 110 145 220 Ultimate 165 230 310 . Breaking Strength This follows tendon failure through necking.24 - Ultimate Strength This is the peak stress. 1999. Table 2 details those offered in Australia. Elongation Measured at peak load. it is the stress after which the tendon physically fails. 1995). by Celtite and DSI Arnall.. Celtite. 1995. through applied load and deformation. and precedes the rapid.

the dimensions of the roadway will govern the maximum possible length of tendon that can be inserted.3. An equivalent diameter is taken from the maximum measure less the height of the deformation on the surface. 2.. as well as the dimensions of the roadway. or deformation pattern. 1996).1.4 Tendon Length Tendon length is governed by the strata into which the tendon is placed.2 Tendon Diameter Tendons are available in various diameters. It has also been suggested that geometrical characteristics of the deformations significantly influence the load transfer characteristics of the FERB (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant.3 Tendon Profile The tendon profile. This diameter is the maximum measured across the tendon cross-section. While there are many designs available within the industry.25 - 2. 2. most are based on a helical ridging.1. is designed to increase resin mixing abilities and adherence between resin and rockbolt.1.1. Unfavourable roadway dimensions can be mitigated through the use of coupled drill rods and rockbolts.3. .1.3. While the location within the roof of a stable anchorage stratum determines the optimum tendon length. ranging between 18-24mm. this being the length required to reach that stratum. allowing this deformation to be a continuation of the rolling process.1.

this nut then has additional torque applied. requires special thread on end of rockbolt rolling of bolt Simply screwed on end of Non standard nut. standard nut. which allows the insert or pin to break out.. unreliable break out.5 Tendon Thread The design of the threaded end of the tendon is vital. Simply High residual torque. This allows rotation of the tendon into the hole for resin mixing.26 - 2. stable surface for the rockbolt to act against. with either plastic resin insert or pin.1. standard nut is free Requires separate forged drive head. as it governs the installation process. unreliable break out. requires running change of dollies Cheap. Table 3: Conventional Nut Break Out Mechanisms (Gray et al.1. debris rockbolt in dolly Standard nut Unreliable break out. After sufficient time for the resin to set.3. cost Drive Square Crimped Nut Crimped Washer Shear Pin 2. 1998) Type Advantages Disadvantages Forged Head Simple No tensioning possible Simple. Simply screwed Unreliable break out. Plug on end of rockbolt debris in dolly Double Lock Nut No debris in drive dolly Non standard nut. and the nut is tightened up the thread to the collar. providing a large. fitted to the threaded lower end of the tendon. unreliable break out Bulbed Bolt Standard nut. Current standard is a torque nut. . screwed on end of rockbolt damage to threads Resin/Plastic Standard nut.3. Simply screwed High residual torque. unreliable break out. A summary of break out systems is shown in Table 3.2 Bearing Plate The bearing plate acts to contain the rock surface surrounding the borehole collar.1. Most bearing plate designs include alignment correction mechanisms to compensate for non-perpendicular installation.

1..3 Resin The primary grouting system for FERB (Eaton. This is considered superior in performance to cementitous grouts as it gives a better anchorage for many rock types with a shorter setting time. .3. The outer compartment contains the resin mastic. However. fast-setting polyester resin cartridges were readily adopted by mines. and the inner compartment contains the catalyst. During installation the cartridge is pushed into the hole. which regulate the “gel” time and maintain homogeny of the filler.27 - 2. while curing times have reduced. The design of these cartridges has remained basically the same. which prevents shrinkage during setting. Developed in the early 1970s. advances in resin technology have resulted in increased strength and elasticity. These react to form a hardened resin that bonds the rock to the rockbolt. 1993) is resin. the plastic wrapping is pierced and shredded by the spinning rockbolt. The mastic contains polyester polymer and styrene monomer. It also contains up to 75% by volume of inert powdered limestone filler. which react with the introduction of the benzoyl peroxide catalyst. as well as small amounts or accelerator and inhibitor compounds. thus allowing mixing between the mastic and catalyst. as fast curing times shortened the installation cycle time. A resin cartridge is shaped like a sausage and contains two compartments.

1995).28 - The resin should have the following properties (ANI Arnall.. • Rapid development of mechanical properties after setting • Insensitivity to variations in mastic/catalyst ratio • Resistance to degradation • Engineered Gel time • Resin viscosity altered as needed • Successful case history A typical cured resin will display the following physical properties (ANI Arnall. 1995): Compressive Strength: 60-80MPa Tensile Strength: 15-20MPa Young’s Modulus: 6-8GPa .

the failure mechanism is progressive and cumulative.3. determined by the mechanical properties of that stratum..2 FERB Strata Control Until the early 1990s. Rockbolts are thus a passive system. In addition.29 - 2. 1987). activating against small deformations and preventing significant further deformation. Failure of individual stratum will then lead to increased stresses on other stratum and so on. FERB improves the load capacity of failing stratum by acting to clamp together shear planes and cracks within the rock (Gale. While rock strength has been shown to increase with the application of active confining forces. the confinement offered by any rockbolting system offers negligible measurable strength increase. However. as a FERB can transfer its full load capacity at multiple locations along the rockbolt. advances in rockbolt monitoring have confirmed that differing rock strata often behave as discrete units (Eaton. Currently accepted theory is that failure will most likely occur in individual stratum. 1998). support systems were designed to form reinforced rock beams in the roof strata. a system can actively contain failure at multiple strata horizons (Gray et al. 1998).or post-tensioning of rockbolts. Rockbolts can generate this confinement after rock movement. through the use of pre. using pre-tensioned rockbolts to hold the strata layers together. . Gale. Post failure strength of rock can be increased with the application of relatively small confinement forces. activated in response to strata dilation of any orientation (Serbousek and Signer. thus stiffening the rock and minimising sag. 1998). 1993. Thus. Thus.

30 - The clamping mechanism is illustrated in Figure 13. 1998) .. Figure 13: Clamping Mechanism of FERB (Gale.

acting in turn on the tendon (Gale.31 - 2. 1990)..3. Figure 14: Mechanics of FERB (Gale. The tendon provides axial restraint to deformation. or normally.3. through strata separation. 1984). while the grout and tendon act to resist shear deformation (Peng and Tang. 2. (1998) . This mechanism is driven by adhesion and/or mechanical interlock within the resin (Signer. As strata layers separate along a parting. shear forces are generated within the resin. This deformation is aligned axially.3. 1998). through slippage between stratums.3 FERB Reinforcement Modes FERB is a passive support system activated through rockmass deformation.1 Axial restraint The mechanism by which a rockbolt resists axial loading is shown in Figure 14.

1990). 1990). grout and tendon surface.3. Resin fills irregularities in the rockbolt and borehole surface..1 Adhesion Adhesion is the result of chemical bonding between the borehole surface. 2. 1990).1. While in the past it has been accepted that adhesion was the primary factor in the shear resistance mechanism (Signer.3.3. Displacement of this magnitude would result in resin failure through shear.2 Mechanical Interlock Mechanical interlock is the result of keying of resin into surface irregularities on the tendon and borehole. 1996) has suggested that peak load is generated after up to 2mm of movement of the tendon relative to the borehole. The minimum length of encapsulation required for transfer of maximum possible load from rock to rockbolt is termed the anchorage length (Signer. Thus. Load is transferred through the rockbolt surface. recent testing (SCT. Irregularities in the borehole surface are the result of lithological variation and the action of the drill bit.32 - 2.1.3. and resulting in failure and further deflection of the tendon. stress concentrations occur at points of irregularity. Rockbolt profiles are designed to provide an irregular surface. . resin and borehole surface through contact surfaces (Signer. potentially exceeding the strength of the resin or rock. When loaded. adhesion cannot be considered the major factor in load generation.

3. 1997): • Tendon diameter • Rockmass characteristics • Joint plane friction properties • Grout annulus thickness • Resin characteristics .33 - 2. Figure 15: Mechanism of Shear Resistance (Gale. For a parting to shear.3. 1998) Factors that influence rockbolt shear resistance effectiveness include (Wagner. 1998). This is shown in Figure 15. so that the resistance of the tendon to bending governs resistance of the system to strata slippage (Gale.2 Shear Resistance A FERB provides excellent resistance to sliding between roof strata layers.. the tendon and grout have to be deformed through bending.

As the resin is weak in tension.3.. the full support capacity of the steel tendon can be reached.3. Alternatively.3.2 Resin Failure The resin may fail due to the proximity of the ductile steel tendon.3.3. 2. the length of resin encapsulation may be insufficient to support the required load. to reduce deformation and minimise tensional loading. or by the use of a higher capacity tendon.3 Rock Failure The loading of the tendon also places the rock in tension. plastic deformation and failure will occur. or by failure of the interfaces between these components. to reduce large deformations and thus minimise tension loads on the resin. Again. .3. by altering support density or pattern.3. which may cause plastic deformation and eventually exceed the tensile strength of the rock. 2. or rock. which then fails.3 FERB Failure Modes Axial failure of a FERB can occur though failure of the tendon. 2.3. grout. This failure can be minimised through optimising support efficiency.3.3. This failure can be corrected through either design.34 - 2. whose deformation places the resin in tension.1 Tendon Failure Provided anchorage length is sufficient. this failure may be prevented through support optimisation. either metallurgically or physically. after which the required support load exceeds the ultimate strength of the steel.3.

through under. In practice. However. in soft rocks. as the radial forces act on a smaller surface area.35 - 2. as the shear stresses acting on this interface are greater. and failure will then occur at the resin/rock interface. thus lessening volume available for bonding • “Glove Fingering”. Failure on the tendon/resin interface is possible if the resin and rock are of similar physical properties and the anchorage length is insufficient. which are possible in the laboratory.3. where portions of the resin cartridge plastic wrapping are not shredded during installation..3. and instead act to prevent bonding between tendon and rock . the strength of the rock is often less than that of the resin.3. the following factors may influence the failure mode (Fabjanczyk et al.4 In situ loading While these failure modes are valid for ideal installation conditions. they are seldom found in the field.or over-spinning • Variations in borehole size or length • Presence of particulate matter in borehole • Loss of resin into partings and voids in strata. 1998): • Incorrect resin installation. Interface Failure The shear stresses present at the tendon/resin interface are often of a greater magnitude than those at the resin/rock interface.

while tendon manufacturers may have greatly advanced technology.2.3. behaviour under load.3. and drives the frictional control mechanism. There have been few published studies on the role of deformation profile design in load transfer.1 Deformation Profile Design The profile of the tendon deformations creates an irregular surface for grout adhesion. 2.3. Thus. resulting in empirical rather than scientifically optimised support systems. • Tendon properties • Grout properties • Rock Properties • Installation Factors 2. applying confinement to the resin annulus. as much of this research is done “in-house” by manufacturers and kept confidential with little information released in the public domain. the deformation profile design is critical in generating confinement in the grout annulus.3. by which radial forces are generated in response to axial loading. the mining industry has a knowledge deficiency.1 Introduction Factors influencing the performance of load transfer in FERB are grouped here as properties of each component of the system. tendon diameter to borehole ratio and surface finish. There has been little published research into these key properties even though these variables can be engineered for specific geotechnical conditions. As a result.4 Factors Governing FERB Performance 2.36 - 2.4. which increases grout shear strength and system capacity.4.4. as well as factors arising from installation techniques. ..2 Tendon Properties Critical tendon properties include design of deformation profile.

Thus.3 Tendon diameter reduction As axial load is applied to a tendon.2.4. confinement is reduced. . 1998). The magnitude of this reduction can be minimised metallurgically.3. if a support system is designed for a certain annulus thickness.4. This variation is due to production techniques and profile design (Hocking. the reduction is not considered sufficient to diminish the confinement generated by the deformation profile. this reduction is intensified.4 Elongation Characteristics Diameter reduction is governed by the elongation characteristics of the tendon. installation of tendons with smaller than specified cores will result in reduced capacity support.2. this can result in dramatic reductions in support capacity. 2. while the effective resin annulus thickness is increased (Fabjanczyk et al.2. the diameter of that tendon reduces. Peel (2001) found that small variations in annulus thickness could slightly alter support capacity.4. 2000). Hence. during loading the deformations. Thus. Figure 16 details the stress-strain behaviour of a steel tendon under axial load.3. through the selection of steel tendons with higher yield strength. which act to provide confining force against the grout. while large annuli (+5mm) exhibit substantially reduced capacity. If the designed annulus thickness is 5mm or greater.3. 2.2 Tendon Diameter to Borehole Ratio The diameter of the tendon in relation to the borehole sizing governs the size of the grout annulus. In the elastic zone. Commercial tendons are supplied with core diameters ranging ±5% of the specified value (Fabjanczyk et al.37 - 2. are actually moving away from that grout. Once the tendon yields. as the tendon proceeds to failure. 1998)..

38 - However. Once ultimate strength has been reached. which releases all confinement around that point. the full length of the tendon experiences diametric reduction at an increased rate.. Figure 16: Elongation and profile characteristics during loading (Fabjanczyk et al. This acts to reduce the confinement offered by the deformation profile. localised necking of the tendon occurs. after yielding has occurred. 1998) .

Figure 17: Effect of surface finish on load transfer performance (Fabjanczyk et al. 1998). as does the presence of contaminants such as grease. Rusting and pitting alter this finish. and therefore the load transfer characteristics of the support system.39 - 2.2. oil and dust.3. 1998) .. Figure 17 compares load-displacement characteristics of smooth and rusted tendons (Fabjanczyk et al.4.5 Surface Finish The surface finish of the tendon can affect the strength of bonding between grout and tendon.

a rusted surface performs better than a clean surface during initial loading. Thus. corrosion and rusting. chemicals and water. 1996) 2.3. Figure 18: Effect of Rusted Tendon Surface on Initial Load Transfer Performance (SCT. a clean rockbolt and a clean rockbolt previously rusted. once sufficient load is applied. The increase in loading for the rusted rockbolts was attributed to an increase in adhesion between resin and surface pitting. Poor storage may allow the tendon to come into contact with lubricants. It is also possible to alter the performance of the tendon through incorrect mine site handling and storage.. strength characteristics are reduced. Hence. this advantage is lost.2. .4. and result in altered surface characteristics.6 Quality Control Commercial tendons are not always produced precisely to specifications. However. Installing warped rockbolts will result in poor resin mixing and varying annulus thickness. giving reduced anchorage strength.40 - Figure 18 compares initial load transfer performance between a rusted rockbolt. resulting in variation from the designed support system.

. confinement properties and the annulus thickness.3. while the low performance resin experienced 50mm total deformation. It was found.4.3. allowing transfer of stresses to tendon during strata dilation. by keeping total deformation to 10mm. to maximise contact with irregular surfaces Eaton (1993) compared the load-transfer characteristics of low and high performance resin. 2. Properties that may influence this performance include physical properties. 1993): • Resin strength greater than strata. as shown in Figure 19..3.41 - 2.3 Resin Properties The performance of the resin with the borehole surface or tendon is critical to the system performance. keeping other elements of the support system identical.1 Resin Performance Maximising load transfer of a support system requires the following resin properties (Eaton.4. rather than failure • High compressive modulus. allowing stress transfer from resin to tendon before significant strata movement occurs • Minimal creep properties over time • Low viscosity during installation. that the high performance Celtite ‘AT’ resin was effective in resisting strata deformation.

In addition.. Radial forces. The generation of these forces is related to the deformation profile of the tendon. Confinement is generated within the resin in response to the relative displacement of the tendon. 1992) found that system performance generally increased in response to increased resin stiffness. it was found that the confined behaviour of the resin significantly affected the load transfer of the support system.4.2 Confined Properties of the Resin Laboratory push tests carried out (Fabjanczyk et al. are generated. Instead. which act against the borehole surface. as well as the resin characteristics. 1993) 2.42 - Figure 19: Effect of Resin Performance on Strata Control (Eaton.3. the application of confining forces results in increased contact between resin particles. thus allowing more efficient load transfer due to the increased surface contacts. Fabjanczyk et al found that physical properties do not govern the performance of confined resin.3. .

This downward trend is shown in Figure 20.3.3. Figure 20: Effect of Hole Diameter on Load Transfer (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant.3 Resin Annulus The size of the resin annulus is driven by economic and operational factors.5mm to 3. However.4. Laboratory push tests found a 30% drop in the load transfer capacity of a 22mm diameter tendon when the annulus was increased from 2. Eaton (1993) advised that resin annulus should be minimised as the closer the tendon to the borehole the more immediate the stress transfer within the system.43 - 2. Increased annuli resulting from larger boreholes display reduced shear stress capacity (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant. 1992). smaller annuli often contain air pockets. Gale (1990) found that for optimum performance. such as drill cycle times and volumes of resin used.. the annulus thickness should be minimised to aid mixing during installation. and to improve load transfer between tendon and rock through proximity. formed on the tendon during the installation process. as well as geotechnical factors.5mm thickness. 1992) .

viscosity requirements and the need for adequate mixing of mastic and catalyst. optimum annulus can only be identified through consideration of the FERB support system.2mm. . This optimum was true for that experimental series. and may not be universal. thus lowering anchorage capacity.4mm difference between tendon and borehole diameter. use of a small diameter rockbolt in this borehole would result in a large annulus thickness. Thus. Optimum resin annulus can be defined as the minimum thickness that can be applied. given operational constraints. However. Therefore. larger diameter rockbolts must be used to ensure performance is optimal. Peng and Tang (1983) found that the optimum annulus was 3. or 6.44 - Gerdeen et al (1977) suggested that larger boreholes would provide improved anchorage due to a greater surface area to distribute shear forces. in large boreholes..

it is likely this is due to different testing methods. 2001) .45 - Peel (2001) conducted pullout tests of 21. He found that capacity was similar for annulus thicknesses of 2mm to 4mm. While these results differed from those of Fabjanczyk and Tarrant. with the resin playing a greater role.. with a 25% capacity reduction once annulus thickness reached 5mm.7mm core diameter tendons anchored in a variety of borehole sizes. These results are shown in Figure 21. Figure 21: Effect of Hole Diameter on Load Transfer (Peel. Mix-and-pour resin was used in these experiments to avoid anchorage inconsistencies due to the presence of cartridge wrapping. This reduction was attributed to an alteration in the failure mechanism.

as these are frequently of much different strength to the surrounding stratum. resulting in increased loading of stiff stratum and deformation of weak stratum.. These variables include: • Lithology • Bedding planes • Physical Properties.4 Rock Properties The third component of a support system is the rock into which the tendon has been grouted. partings will cause load redistribution. Thus.3. .4.4. leaving stronger stratum to carry this load.1 Physical Properties Given that soft rock is largely heterogeneous.3. points of weakness often occur at many points along the length of tendon. The behaviour of the rock under load contributes greatly to the performance of the support system as a whole. Weaker stratum will shed load and deform easily.4. as: • Sandstone • Limestone • Sandy Shale • Shale • Clayey Shale • Clay 2.46 - 2. Peng (1988) identifies rock types commonly associated with coal mining. including o Compressive Strength o Tensile Strength o Elastic Moduli • Presence of Water Bedding planes in particular will affect support systems. in order of decreasing strength.

- 47 -

While a typical uniaxial strength of weak rock lies in the range of 20.8MPa to 48.2MPa,
the presence of water will greatly reduce this, into a range of 0.0MPa to 13.8MPa (Peng,


Weak roof is especially susceptible to air weathering. Weathered roof surface rock will
fail between rockbolts, causing the roof beam to lose integrity. In addition, weathering
of the newly exposed rock will occur, furthering the failure process. This surface failure
can be controlled using straps or mesh, or avoided through the application of shotcrete.

Length of Encapsulation and Rock Strength

The demonstrated strength of a resin anchorage is related to the strength of the rock and
volume of included resin, which governs the length of encapsulation formed along the
tendon. Franklin and Woodfield (1971) found that weaker rocks required more resin, or
greater encapsulation length, to achieve the same strength found in stronger rocks. A
longer length of encapsulation allows greater length of load distribution, reducing peak
load and thus not exceeding rock strength.

Loss of resin into strata

Bedding planes and other discontinuities inherent in sedimentary rocks represent an
avenue of escape for resin during installation. While fully mixed resin may provide
some degree of restraint to a parting, unmixed resin is simply lost. This reduction in
volume results in reduced anchorage length, and consequently a reduction in support

- 48 -

Installation Processes

In order for a support system to achieve full potential, the installation of the tendon
must follow the designed process. Resin and tendon manufacturers have developed
processes to ensure optimum installation. However, in an operational environment
these cannot always be replicated, resulting in incorrect installation and diminished

Borehole Quality

Karabin and Bebevec (1978) investigated FERB performance against borehole quality.
Their study indicated that the bond between resin and borehole surface was purely
mechanical, with the deformation profile of the tendon and the irregular surface of the
borehole providing physical resistance to displacement. Hence, shearing across these
surfaces would precede shear failure of the system.

Field observations of boreholes concluded that the condition of the borehole surface
significantly affected the load transfer characteristics of a FERB support system.

Gerdeen et al (1977) conducted a series of laboratory tests comparing anchorage
capacity between boreholes of varying roughness. From Table 4 it is clear that the
boreholes with random grooving out performed smooth holes by a factor of 3, and asdrilled holes by a factor of 2. Thus, it is clear that roughness contributes greatly to
support system performance.

- 49 Table 4: Borehole condition and anchorage capacity (Gerdeen et al, 1977)


Hole Diameter (mm)
Hole Condition

19mm Tendon

25mm Tendon














Clean Wet






















Clean Wet















Cast Smooth
























Therefore, comparisons between FERB systems must include consideration of the
inherent variation due to borehole quality.

Presence of Water
Dunham (1973) compared load transfer performance of rockbolts installed in dry and
water filled holes. He found similar average anchorage capacities for dry and wet
boreholes, and concluded that the effect of water is negligible.

Gerdeen et al (1977) conducted laboratory testing after field observations indicated
water, dust and roughness were all influential factors. The results of these tests are
replicated in Table 4. No differentiation could be made between wet and dry holes,
indicating water does not adversely affect anchorage capacity.

Gray and Fabjanczyk (1992) suggested that the presence of water might reduce
anchorage capacity in clay rich rocks. The use of water flushing during drilling may
liberate clay particles from the rock, resulting in a thin film of clay depositing on the
borehole surface, which then would inhibit resin adhesion to that surface.

released during dry drilling. 2. diminishing loadbearing capacity.or under-spinning will alter final characteristics.5.2 Resin Mixing During installation. This reduces the effective length of encapsulation. tendon or borehole surface. This then may “glove” the tendon. the rockbolt is spun to shred the plastic resin capsule between the deformation profile and the borehole surface. 2. the plastic cartridge will be pushed to the top of the borehole. Ideally.. and to mix the mastic with the catalyst.5. If the installation is incorrect. the cartridge may not be shredded adequately. would inhibit resin adhesion and thus reduce anchorage capacity (Gray and Fabjanczyk. Over.3 Glove Fingering During installation.50 - Presence of Drilling Fines Clay fines and other dust present on the borehole surface. . which in turn diminishes load-bearing capacity.3.3. it is vital that manufacturer specified spinning and setting times are adhered to. 1992). preventing adhesion between grout.4.4.

1992).1 Introduction FERB is a passive reinforcement system. the support system is activated once bedding planes within the rock separate. That is. It has also been stated as a measurement of peak shear stress capacity and system stiffness (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant. which is then transferred along the length of the tendon and separation is resisted.. As deformation occurs and is restrained. The manner of this load transfer distribution has led to conflicting linear and exponential transfer theories. Shear stress capacity can be calculated using Equation 6. including the faceplate and nut. The system will also fail if the rock/grout or grout/tendon interface shear strength is exceeded. .4 Load Transfer 2. the support system fails when any of the components in the system fail through shear or yield failure. In these definitions. 1992). where peak shear stress is the average shear stress over an encapsulated length at the maximum applied load. reliant on strata deformation to generate support. 1998). Thus. The load transfer mechanism generates and sustains reinforcing force in the tendon as a result of strata deformation (Fabjanczyk and Tarrant. 1987). When installed this system initially provides passive support.4. The FERB support system is comprised of three elements: the grouting material. or multiple points along the grouted length. giving a load transfer rate (Serbousek and Signor. which places load onto the tendon. such as a parting. due to the stresses generated by stratum separation. the surrounding rockmass and the tendon. load transfer capacity is a measure of the effectiveness of the system (Gray et al. Performance of the FERB support system is governed by the efficiency of this load transfer mechanism. Load transfer is defined as the change in load with respect to the distance along the tendon.51 - 2. The FERB may provide support at a single point. the tendon load is transferred to the surrounding rock.

.52 - ∆F = πφL τ Equation 6: Shear stress capacity where: ∆F = change in force (N) φ = Diameter of rockbolt or borehole (mm) L = length of distributed force (mm) τ = Shear stress .

the less deformation occurs. the more quickly this confinement is generated. the confinement offered by the tendon to the surrounding rock acts to increase the strength of failed rock. with superior support systems able to generate loads along small portions with little deformation. The load transfer mechanism ensures that load is distributed along a portion of the tendon rather than acting at a point. or acting on the full length of encapsulation. Also. Load transfer can be measured as the rate of loading. as well as the magnitude of the ultimate support capacity. minimising failure and maximising post failure strength. Thus.4. Figure 22: FERB axial force build-up about strata partings as face advances (Gale. Figure 22 details axial load distribution for successive levels of deformation as the working face moves ahead of the supporting tendon.53 - 2.2 Significance of Load Transfer Load transfer governs deformation experienced before generated support is sufficient to restrain further movement.. 1990) .

. 1990): • To increase system stiffness by maximising load transfer. thus lessening tendon length under load • To utilise the complete tendon capacity. support density and placement • To manage collar loads .54 - The objectives of optimising load transfer are (Gale. by preventing resin or rock failure • To optimise support system through tendon length.

a result of the drilling process and geolithic variables. FERB tendons are manufactured with a helical deformation pattern. 1987). with any shear force due to weight of the jack negated once the jack bears against the face of the core. Serbousek and Signer (1987) have demonstrated that in elastic loading. This assumption is accurate as the applied load is purely axial. brittle materials of lower strength (Serbousek and Signer. It is accepted that load is transferred from rock to tendon by shear resistance of the grout.3.1 FERB Load Transfer Mechanism The mechanism of load transfer in a FERB is driven by the behaviour of the support system displacing under load relative to the resin and rock. Load transfer includes the mechanisms of adhesion and mechanical interlock.4. forming an annulus connecting these irregular contact surfaces. 1990).55 - 2. which is the transferral of load between tendon.3.3 Mechanisms FERB provides strata reinforcement through axial restraint and shear resistance. resin and rock through contact surfaces (Signer. but the nature of this resistance has not been proven. 2. The resin acts to fill the space between rock and tendon. grouting substance and the surrounding rock.2 Factors Influencing FERB performance The key components of the FERB are the tendon. While the tendon is comprised of ductile. 1990).. providing a significant contact surface. axial restraint will be the mechanism assumed to be acting during load transfer. the grout and resin are weaker. 2.4. It is believed that shear resistance is created through adhesion or mechanical interlock. high strength and high elasticity steel. As the focus of this research project is axial restraint. and as the facility would require significant modification to allow study of shear resistance. or a combination of the two (Signer. The surface of the borehole is generally irregular. mechanical interlock is the primary means of transferral of shear force between the support components.4. .

the following conditions are necessary (Gale. grout and rock • Borehole smoothness • Grout annulus thickness • Installation quality. 1990): • Resin installed according to manufacturers instructions • Borehole surface free of particulate matter that may interfere with resin/rock interface • Small resin annulus allowing efficient mixing and maximising loading mechanism between rock and tendon .56 - These components acting together govern the performance of the FERB. thus preventing the tensional failure of the grout and rock. tendon centrality and collar condition In order for optimal performance of the FERB to be achieved. with the tendon absorbing load and deformation. 1990): • Material properties of tendon. As long as there is a sufficient length of encapsulation. This encapsulation length is influenced by the following factors (Signer. 1987).. including grout mixing. the ultimate capacity of the tendon can be reached (Serbousek and Signer.

4. 2.4 Quantitative Measurement Load transfer may be determined through the measurement of either the peak shear stress sustainable on the tendon/resin or resin/rock interface. .57 - 2. allowing calculation of the shear stress. or the system stiffness.4. as shown here in Equation 7.1 Peak Shear Stress Peak shear stress is defined as the average stress over encapsulation at the maximum applied force (Fabjanczyk.4. as the rate of developed shear stress for a given displacement (SCT. 1996). τ= ∆F πφL Equation 7: Peak Shear Stress where: τ = shear stress φ = rockbolt diameter or borehole diameter ∆F = change in force over encapsulation length (L) Figure 23 shows the profile of forces experienced by a FERB.. and thus determination of the peak shear stress. 1992).

1997). k= AE l Equation 8: System Stiffness where: k = system stiffness A = cross sectional area of tendon E = Young’s modulus of tendon (GPa) l = length of tendon over which the strata deformation is dissipated (m) . 1996) 2..4. and is calculated using Equation 8.4.58 - Figure 23: Force distribution in FERB around strata dilation (SCT.2 System Stiffness Stiffness of the tendon/resin or resin/rock interface is the rate of shear stress generated for a given strata displacement (Wagner.

resulting in a reduction of generated forces (Wagner. l is related to the strata displacement. 1997) .59 - For a FERB. and the shear strength of the tendon/resin and resin/rock interfaces. as a longer tendon length allows greater distribution of load transfer.. Figure 24 illustrates the benefit of using FERB. Figure 24: Effect of active rockbolt length on support resistance (Wagner. 1997).

Load is applied to the tendon at the separation point. 1997).60 - 2. It should be noted from Equation 9 that system stiffness would significantly influence the maximum sustainable force in the tendon. 19970 ..4. FB = ks 2l Equation 9: Loading due to strata separation where: FB = transferred load (kN) k = system stiffness l = tendon length experiencing dissipating load (m) s = length of strata displacement (m) Loading of a FERB experiencing a small amount of strata separation is shown in Figure 25.4. Figure 25: Forces generated around strata separation in FERB (Wagner.3 Loading due to Strata Separation Calculation of loading due to separation of strata layers as a function of system stiffness and tendon length is shown in Equation 9 (Wagner. dissipating though the load transfer mechanism.

. it is now possible to calculate load distribution along the length of an installed FERB through the measurement of resultant strains. Figure 26 illustrates this.61 - With the application of strain-gauged rockbolts. and thus greater strains are recorded. This load distribution allows identification of individual stratum failing within the roof. with the position of weaker stratum bands noted. with a series of diagrams of load profiles along tendon lengths. as these experience greater displacement. . A comparison of the support performance for good and poor load transfer systems is also made.

.62 - Figure 26: Comparison between good and poor load transfer in FERB (Fabjanczyk et al. 1998) .

4.63 - 2. Pells (1974) observed that some rockbolts failed at a very low overall rockbolt strain. and that the load on the tendon decays exponentially away from the loading point. which provided details on load bearing capabilities of the support system but very little on the mechanisms within that system. 1970) have shown that the majority of load is transferred through shear stresses rather than through the base plate. Subsequent testing indicated that the full length of the rockbolt might not be experiencing full loading. Thus. grout and rock. Farmer (1975) further investigated FERB stress distribution.1  σ0 Equation 10: Theoretical FERB stress distribution where: τx = shear stress at distance x along the rockbolt (MPa) σ0 = applied load (N) a = annulus thickness (mm) x = distance along rockbolt (mm) .5 Stress Distribution Profile 2.. Analysis revealed that up to 80% of load is transferred through shear mechanisms.4.5. rockbolt knowledge remained confined to pull out tests. the rockbolt was failing due to this concentration of strain. As the use of FERB became widespread. This theory was built around a finite slice through tendon.2 x   a  − τX = 0. He deduced that the rockbolt loads were confined to a small distance on either side of the loading point. based on a boundary element processes.  0. deriving a theoretical stress distribution model showing exponential decay along the rockbolt.1 Exponential Distribution Studies using finite element mathematical modelling techniques of the stress distribution around a tendon grouted into a cylindrical hole in rock (Coates and Yu.

At low loads. limestone and chalk. Farmer found that the experimental results were consistent with theoretical distributions up to a certain high load. In addition. at high loads a greater portion of the rockbolt experiences loading. The testing consisted of pullout tests of strain-gauged tendons from cores of cement.. Figure 28 and Figure 29 show the theoretical behaviour (broken lines) and experimental results (solid lines) for encapsulated lengths of 350mm and 500mm respectively. it was found that debonding was occurring at the rock/grout and resin/tendon interfaces. this correlation is reduced. there is reasonable correlation between both sets of results.64 - Figure 27: Theoretical Stress Distribution of FERB in rigid socket with thin resin annulus (Farmer. It was concluded that the theory was valid for elastic loading of the system. 1975) Farmer then sought to validate this theory through laboratory testing to compare experimental with theoretical stress distributions. but as load increases. Above this load. rather than the small length predicted. .

.500mm Rockbolts (Farmer.65 - Figure 28: Theoretical and Experimental Stress Distribution .350mm rockbolts (Farmer. 1975) . 1975) Figure 29: Theoretical and Experimental Stress Distribution .

Figure 30: Variation of Rockbolt Load into Grout (Haas and Nitzsche. This model showed that loading of the rockbolt was not uniform and that the stress variation along the rockbolt was non-linear. observing the effect of tensional confinement on bed separation. and the residual load was only 5% 210mm (10 inches) from the nut. This behaviour was similar to that found in Farmer’s research. . and is shown in Figure 30..66 - Haas and Nitzsche (1976) investigated the performance of a pre-tensioned FERB. A model was created using finite element methods assuming symmetry of stress distribution into the immediate rock. 1976) It was concluded that almost 80% of the pre-tension was lost within 125mm (5 inches) of the nut. as it was recognised that greater bedding displacements were occurring in the upper portion of the rockbolt.

generating high stress concentrations Whitaker (1998) derived two models of stress distribution along a FERB. The conclusions drawn using this approach were: • There is an exponential stress distribution. The tendon was loaded axially by use of a jack acting against a nut on the end of the tendon. and simulated a strain-gauged rockbolt.67 - Therefore. with loading being applied at the centre of the rockbolt due to bed displacement. and strata deformation in this portion will be unaffected by any pre-tensioning. as well as against a plate positioned on the face of the core.. Hyett. these being field and laboratory models. Moosavi and Bawden (1996) used numerical and analytical methods as well as Farmer’s equation to create a model describing a passive FERB with free ends. The laboratory model was based on the FERB Pull-test facility at UNSW. pre-confinement offered to the upper portions of the tendon is insignificant. . grouted in a concrete core and confined within a biaxial cell. with peak load located at the point of displacement (in this case bed separation) • Increasing displacement resulted in an increased load transfer rate • At low displacements the load is transferred along the whole tendon length • At high displacements load transfer is confined to the section of tendon closest to displacement point.

as discussed in the next section. 1999) This model displayed an exponential stress distribution.68 - Figure 31: Exponential Load Distribution .Laboratory Model (Whitaker. the field model conflicted with this.. and found that increases in confinement resulted in increased load transfer rates. . because it described linear transfer rates. However.

4. with stress distribution along the tendon decaying linearly. This transfer rate increased with increased loading. Radcliffe and Stateham (1980) observed 50 strain-gauged rockbolts in three different mines with bedded strata. 1977) Extensive field studies using strain-gauged rockbolts have sought to determine the stress distribution in a mining environment. as opposed to a laboratory environment. They found a linear stress distribution along the length of encapsulation..69 - 2.5.2 Linear Distribution Gerdeen (1977) investigated the influence of tendon length on the load transfer process through laboratory experimentation. and that load transfer rates were symmetrical around a parting located at . Figure 32: Linear Stress Distribution (Gerdeen. Using 500mm (~20 inches) strain-gauged rockbolts encased in a plaster material he found that the entire length of the tendon was utilised to transfer loads. as shown in Figure 32.

Deflection of the lower layers placed the region about the lower parting in tension. as found by Pells (1974). as shown in Figure 33. Laboratory and field pull-out tests of straingauged FERB found that anchorage length required to dissipate load remained constant as applied load was increased. 1980) Patrick and Haas (1980) conducted similar tests at different mines and reached similar conclusions.70 - the centre of a rockbolt. load transfer rates were not symmetrical about a bed separation that did not occur in the centre of the rockbolt. rather than the full length of encapsulation. Figure 33: Linear Stress Distribution due to Bed Separation (Radcliffe and Stateham. This is shown in Figure 34. would put the region about the middle and upper parting in compression. while deflection of the upper layers.. . if the middle stratum remained stable. However. Serbousek and Signor (1987) sought to prove that loading was confined to short distances around partings or from the rockbolt head. They concluded that increased loading generated a stiffer system allowing increased load transfer rates. They also found that a rockbolt might experience both tensional and compressive loading due to bed separation.

1987) The second finding of this research was that the length of tendon was insignificant to the systems load transfer characteristics. 1987) . It was found that a short tendon transferred loads over a similar distance as a longer tendon. Figure 35: Similar load transfer rates for varied anchorage length (Serbousek and Signor. the shorter tendon generated a stiffer system allowing increased load transfer rates.. This is shown in Figure 35.71 - Figure 34: Increased Load Transfer rate as applied load increased on constant anchorage length (Serbousek and Signor. Thus.

- 72 -

Serbousek and Signor concluded that 90% of applied load in a standard pull-out test
dissipates into the rock within 24 inches of the rockbolt head.

Strata Control Technology (SCT) carries out numerous field strain-gauged pull-out
tests. Results consistently demonstrate linear decaying stress distribution along the full
length of encapsulation. Results also show that transfer rates vary as the tendon passes
through strata layers of differing strengths, suggesting that peak transfer rate is related
to strata strength. This mechanism is shown in Figure 36, where stress is distributed
along the full length of the tendon as it passes through several different strata layers.

Figure 36: Fiel d distribution of stress, highlighting loading around strata parting (SCT, 1996)

- 73 -

Whitaker’s second model, describing field conditions, conflicted with the laboratory
model in that it showed a linear decaying load transfer rate. The model described the
same tendon, core and grout, with the differentiating factor being the loading

A parting was located in the centre section of the core, representing a strata bedding
plane or joint. Loading was then placed on both ends of the tendon, representing the
loading resulting from a deflecting lower layer and subsequent support from the anchor
located in the upper layer. The stress distribution was found to be symmetrical about
the parting, and is shown in Figure 37.

Figure 37: Linear Load Distribution around parting - Field Model (Whitaker, 1999)

- 74 -

Summary of Load Distribution

It is apparent from studying the literature that the mechanism of load distribution has
not been adequately proven. An exponential decay of load has been found in the
laboratory, in computer modelling and in the field, while linear decay has been
consistently found in field measurements.

In addition, while some studies have

concluded a discrete distance is required to dissipate load, others have found that the
entire tendon length is required.

While these discrepancies may be attributed to differences in testing methods, clearly a
scientific study is required to isolate each conclusion, and to identify the root causes, so
that the load distribution mechanism can be fully defined.

The studies available frequently neglect to specify rib height or spacing.75 - 2.5. . although these factors are credited as the driving mechanism of load transfer. little public knowledge exists regarding the impact of the design of tendon deformation profile. it is difficult to compare studies due to uncertainties regarding the actual profiles. Thus. This means that engineers designing support systems rely on empirical methods. Research by the manufacturers of strata control products has remained confidential. with expert consultation being the domain of the manufacturers.1 Introduction While FERB load transfer mechanisms have been extensively researched and the result of these investigations published.5 Deformation Profile 2..

76 - 2. width and pitch angle are determined through physical measurement only. While it is possible to calculate the deformation height from the core and bar diameter. .5. a sound knowledge of this variable would allow further optimisation of support system. As the profile is a support system component that can be extensively altered through design.2 Tendon Profile Significance Manufacturers commonly release the following basic information regarding their tendon products: • Yield Strength • Ultimate Strength • Uniform Elongation • Density • Core Diameter • Bar Diameter The deformation profile itself appears as a simple schematic. with no information regarding geometric design. other dimensions such as spacing. the effect of profile design on support characteristics must be comprehensively understood.. In order for engineers to be well-informed in designing support systems.

. 1995) Figure 38 shows a range of deformation profiles. . C and E are basic designs for comparative purposes. threads B. as compared by Gale et al (1995). and thread F is similar to the design of many rockbolts in industry use.77 - Figure 38: Sample Deformation Profile Designs (Gale et al. Threads A and D are combination designs (similar to the HPC rockbolt).

a clear knowledge of profile performance mechanisms is vital in designing optimal support systems.78 - Figure 39: Load/Displacement behaviour variation between different deformation profiles (Gale et al. .. Thus. It is clear from these curves that different profiles behave in quite distinct manners. 1995) The load transfer performance of these profiles is shown in Figure 39.

When comparing different tendon designs it is important that consideration is made of the intended purpose. The geometry of the profile is designed to assist in the generation of confinement. T bars.3 FERB design considerations FERB deformation profiles are designed to assist in the installation process through shredding of the resin cartridge and by mixing the mastic and catalyst. providing economical rib with good mixing ability (Wriggle rockbolts) • Plain tendons. J bars. ribbed tendons (Y bars. Different ma nufacturing processes allow various designs to be categorised as follows (Gray et al. bent into worm profile. HPC bars) • Plain tendons. The profile is also designed as an irregular surface.79 - 2. forming roughened profile (Videx bars) • Continuously threaded tendons . 1998): • Hot rolled. promoting adhesion with the resin.5. cold worked. through the mechanical interlock mechanism..

While large profiles have greater load transfer performance. round bar Each of these methods is costly to the manufacturer. . round bar would allow simple cold rolling of the thread (Gray et al.5. the following alternate techniques are used to add the thread to a deformed tendon: • Skimming the ribs off.4 FERB Manufacturing considerations As tendons are manufactured with a deformed surface. cost as well as performance need to be considered in the design process. Thus. Thus. then cold rolling the thread on • Cold rolling the deformation and thread simultaneously onto a plain.. 1998). the process of adding thread to attach a nut is made difficult.80 - 2. this then provides the problem of adding a deformed profile. then cold rolling the thread on • Swaging the end of the bar. they are more expensive to manufacture due to the threading process. A smooth.

81 - 2. Figure 40: Load/displacement Performance of AX Bar with reduced deform thickness’ (Fabjanczyk et al. 1998) looked at tendons of progressively reducing deformation height. by understanding the role of deformation profile in load transfer. That is. the system may be optimised through engineering an optimal design. Fabjanczyk and Tarrant (1992) carried out laboratory analysis of 50mm push tests.5 Profile Design Considerations Given that deformation profile is a key component in the load transfer mechanism. 1998) . The resulting graphs. as well as loss of shear capacity due to reduction in confinement. the relationship between design and effectiveness must be fully understood for engineering use.5. finding that the deformation profile significantly affected confinement generation within the resin annulus. with the height of the deformations being critical. with an AX bar reduced from 1mm deformation height to zero deformation in 3 steps. Figure 40 and Figure 41. Further research (Fabjanczyk et al.. demonstrate significant loss of stiffness and load capacity.

1998) Research (Gray et al.. at the joining of deformation and tendon core.82 - Figure 41: Load/Confinement of AX Bar with reduced deform thickness (Fabjanczyk et al. . “Stress Raisers” are formed at the base of the profile. 1998) has also found that large deformations act to concentrate stresses. Rounding this join into a smooth curve can reduce this stress concentration. This then reduces the chance of crack propagation in the tendon.

and thus to the rock. the radial forces applied by the deformation profile will fracture resin. Figure 42 demonstrates the process whereby the loaded tendon displaces relative to the resin. the strength of the crushed resin is sensitive to the confinement generated by the tendon.83 - 2. if generated confinement is reduced. the rate of load transfer is governed by friction. . Thus. support capacity of the resin declines and the load transfer characteristics of the system are reduced (SCT. 1996) Assuming the resin and rock are of similar strength.5. causing the deformation profile to apply radial force to the resin. As the tendon displaces under load. Figure 42: Mechanism of Frictional Control in Load Transfer (SCT. failure will occur on the tendon/resin interface..6 Deformation Profile and Frictional Control After failure has occurred. 1996). As it is in a post-failure state.

in order to prove superior performance in stiffness.1. . little displacement before retardation and prolonged sustainment of the required load (Gray et al.6 Testing Methods 2. the purpose of the support system must be considered. 2.1. 1995). capacity and displacement behaviour.1 Comparative Testing 2.84 - 2. some means of measurement must be available. with behaviour initially identical to the other profiles but at a much greater ultimate strength. Testing tends to indicate that profile “A” exhibits superior performance. evaluation must be through comparisons between systems.6.6. The testing of profiles shown in Figure 38 is an example of comparative testing.2 Identifying Superior Performance In order to define superior performance.6. with the resulting load/displacement performance allowing comparisons to be made (Gale et al.1 Introduction In order to evaluate a support system. Optimal FERB behaviour is rapid load generation. The six different rockbolt profiles were subjected to short encapsulation push tests. with the support system closest in characteristics to those deemed optimal considered the superior.. In the absence of scientific benchmarks. 1995).

Applied load is measured using gauges on the hydraulic jack. .6.6.2. Figure 43 details the apparatus recommended for this testing. Figure 43: ISRM Rock Anchor Evaluation Apparatus (ISRM.2 Standardised Methods of Testing 2.1mm.1.2.1 Field Pull-Out Testing 2. This test is not destructive. 1985) In this test.6. and the anchor is not pulled out of the hole. A reliable datum is required to measure displacement. to determine if the anchor can sustain a specified load. It is an acceptance test.1 Apparatus and Procedure The International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM) has guidelines for evaluating rock anchor testing. while displacement is recorded using dial gauges to an accuracy of less than ±0.85 - 2.. care must be taken to ensure the load is applied axially to the tendon by the jack. and all surfaces must be clean of loose material to ensure application of load is axial.

as it neglects to account for adverse conditions frequently encountered underground. Field tests in mining environments tend to concentrate on load transfer characteristics.2. and the use of specified equipment may not be feasible in the confines of a mining environment. yield and post failure zones • Peak shear stress – sustainable on resin-rock or resin-tendon interface . Figure 44: Mining environment pull-out testing apparatus (SCT. testing to failure of the system to include evaluation of post-peak load behaviour.. Apparatus for field-testing is shown in Figure 44.2 Mining Environment Testing Considerations The ISRM method is more suited to Civil Engineering applications than Mining conditions.1.86 - 2.6. 1996) This test supplies the following data about the support system: • Peak load – maximum load achievable • System stiffness – in elastic. Specifically the requirement for surfaces to be clean can be difficult to maintain.

As such. Comparative tests have shown considerable variation in initial loading behaviour for clean. Also. The test itself aimed to provide standardised components and procedures.6. to remove the effect of variables inherent in field support systems.2 Laboratory Testing 2. with peak load achieved after approximately 2 minutes loading. only tests that fail on the resin-tendon interface are considered valid.. removing errors associated with tendon non-centrality in the borehole. not those rusted or stained with oil or paint.87 - 2. A strain rate of 0. and rusted rockbolts. the presence of end-caps ensures tendon centrality. . although it should be noted that peak loads were similar for all three.2.2.2. The set up of this test is shown in Figure 45.02mm per second is recommended. Only clean rockbolts should be tested using this method. as shown in Figure 18. Figure 45: Laboratory Push Test Apparatus (Fabjanczyk et al.1 Push Test The push test was developed by SCT (1996) as a measure of sustainable peak shear stress and stiffness of the tendon-resin interface. cleaned rusted. 1998) The cylinder is internally threaded to provide a competent resin/cylinder interface.6.

6. The cylinders are then placed into a tensile testing machine. as free-end elongation corrections and compressive face loads are avoided. internally threaded steel cylinders. Figure 46: Gun Barrel Pull Test (SCT. 1996) This method removes many of the uncertainties involved with pull-testing. and load applied. . This method replicates field conditions of loading across a discontinuity.88 - 2.. Displacement is measured across the join of the cylinders.2.2 Gun-Barrel Testing The apparatus for this test is shown in Figure 46. and utilises two thick-walled.2. into which a tendon is grouted.

89 - 2..6.2. Figure 47: UNSW Pullout testing facility Field conditions are replicated through the incorporation of a biaxial cell. . This facility is the model from which the UNSW Pull-Test facility was constructed in Stage 1. which provides confinement to the test core during loading. This confinement simulates the horizontal stress field acting on the rock in a mine roof. and is shown in Figure 47.3 Confinement Controlled Testing Fabjanczyk et al (1998) examined a facility designed to replicate field conditions without the associated inherent variables. The testing method employed by this facility is termed the Short Encapsulation Pull-Out Test.2.

replicating the diametric reduction of the tendon under load.. deformation profile and resin characteristics. The Push test cannot be considered representative of field conditions. these being the Push Test and the Short Encapsulation Pull-Out Test.3 2.3.90 - 2.6.6. as the applied force places the tendon under compressive load. The UNSW Pull-Test Facility allows the following variables to be controlled: • Drill-bit rotation and advance speeds during drilling • Tendon rotation and advance speeds during installation • Confinement Pressure of core within biaxial cell • Applied Load during pull-out testing • Data Acquisition rates .1 The Short Encapsulation Pull-Out Test Selection of Testing Method Two laboratory-testing methods are available for determination of rockbolt performance. The Short Encapsulation Pull-Out Test provides tensile loading. This test is more suited to theoretical studies of annulus thickness.

and length. Thus. . It is clear that these discrepancies are a result of two different loading mechanisms: • Jack bearing against rock face • Bed separation Bed separation is the mechanism present in the field. and linear distributions found through the use of in situ strain-gauged rockbolts undergoing bed separation.91 - 2.. these being concerned with the form. of load distribution along a tendon. Exponential and linear load distributions have been shown both in laboratory and field testing. whereas jacking is used in laboratory and field pullout testing. and while some tests have shown that load is concentrated at specific points of the tendon. Exponential load distribution is found using the jacking method. the additional confineme nt offered by the bearing surface to the rock may have some effect on load distribution.1 Load Distribution Review of rockbolt literature has shown conflict between several core theories. others have shown the full length is loaded to some degree.7.7 Conclusions of Previous Research 2.

2.3 Standardised Testing While many researchers have used pullout testing as a means of evaluating load transfer performance. systematic pullout testing method is a requirement for future test work.7. a comprehensive evaluation of all variables has not been completed and published. this information remains commercial intellectual property.7.92 - 2. Thus. knowledge in the public domain concerning rockbolts remains deficient. These variables include: • Tendon metallurgical variables • Geometry of tendon • Tendon surface finish • Borehole surface quality • Borehole contaminants • Resin installation quality • Resin composition Thus. as this will allow a stable framework for comparisons between the findings of different research projects. In addition.2 Public Understanding of Variables While manufacturers of strata support products have a detailed understanding of the effect of tendon deformation profile on load transfer behaviour. standardised means of testing and analysing often are not published.. Thus. establishment of a standardised. a complete evaluation of all variables present in support systems would greatly increase the level of knowledge in the public domain. . while evaluations of some variables present in support systems have been published.

93 - 2..7. systematic means of testing and analysing pullout tests .4 • Research Objectives Verification of load distribution mechanism for both field and laboratory loading methods • Evaluation of the effect of inherent variables of support systems in influencing system performance • Contribution to public domain knowledge of FERB support systems • Development of a standardised.