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1007/s10706-008-9207-2

ORIGINAL PAPER

**Inﬂuence of Water Pressure on the Stress State in Stopes with Cohesionless Backﬁll
**

Li Li Æ Michel Aubertin

Received: 18 July 2007 / Accepted: 20 April 2008 / Published online: 16 May 2008 Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Abstract The rapid increase of backﬁll use in underground mines requires a better understanding of the interaction between the ﬁll material and the surrounding rock mass. This is a fairly complex issue as backﬁll materials are weak compared to the rock mass. This difference in the mechanical behavior induces a stress transfer along the contact area. Previous work conducted on backﬁlled trenches and mining stopes has shown that basic arching theory can be used to estimate earth pressures in narrow, vertical openings. In this regard, most existing solutions have been developed for dry backﬁlls. However, in many cases, water is present in mine stopes, so its effect should be assessed. In this paper, the authors present a solution to evaluate the stress state in submerged or partially submerged backﬁlled stopes. The proposed analytical solution is validated against numerical modeling results.

Keywords Arching effect Á Analytical solutions Á Hydraulic ﬁll Á Effective stresses Á Pore pressure

1 Introduction Backﬁll is now commonly used in underground mine operations around the world. Backﬁlling has many advantages, including a considerable reduction in the amount of mine wastes disposed on the surface, which helps minimize their environmental footprint. Another reason for the increasing use of backﬁll is improved ground stability and the ensuing increase in ore recovery. Mine backﬁll applications require a good understanding of backﬁll behavior, including its interaction with the surrounding rock mass. This is, however, a fairly complex issue due to the fact that the ﬁll material is weak compared to the surrounding rock mass (e.g., Hassani and Archibald 1998; Belem et al. 2000, 2007). The most convenient means available for handling this complex problem are numerical tools, which can take into account various inﬂuence factors such as natural stress conditions, excavation and placement sequence, presence of discontinuities, and geometry of the openings (e.g., Pariseau 1981; Hustrulid et al. 1989; Brummer et al. 1996; Brechtel et al. 1999; Aubertin et al. 2003; Li et al. 2003, 2007; Pirapakaran and Sivakugan 2007). Nonetheless, conducting numerical simulations can be time consuming and expensive. Analytical equations can provide simple, low cost solutions as a

L. Li Á M. Aubertin Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering, ´ ´ Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Succursale Centreville, C.P. 6079, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7 e-mail: Li.Li@polymtl.ca M. Aubertin (&) Industrial NSERC Polytechnique-UQAT Chair on Environment and Mine Wastes Management, Montreal, QC, Canada e-mail: michel.aubertin@polymtl.ca URL: http://www.polymtl.ca/enviro-geremi/

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complementary tool that ground control engineers can use for preliminary evaluations of the stress state in backﬁlled openings (e.g., Mitchell 1983; Aubertin 1999). In this regard, the authors’ recent work has shown that an analytical solution based on Marston’s (1930) arching formulation is well suited for estimating earth pressures in vertical backﬁlled stopes (e.g., Aubertin et al. 2003, 2005; Li et al. 2003, 2005a). To date, the solution proposed by the authors has not explicitly considered the effect of pore water pressure. In this paper, this effect is introduced into the previously developed analytical solution. The ensuing results are validated using numerical computations. This presentation focuses on cohesionless ﬁll materials, as the low cement content of backﬁll induces a small cohesion that has little inﬂuence on the stress distribution; the effect of backﬁll cohesion on the stress distribution in stopes has been addressed elsewhere (Li et al. 2005a, 2007).

backﬁll. This approach may be justiﬁed for the powder industry, where the presence of water (or other liquids) is often prohibited, and for shallow trenches where the water content is minimal. However, in the case of backﬁlled stopes, water often plays an important role, particularly in the case of hydraulic ﬁll and paste backﬁll. As the stope height can vary from a few meters to tens of meters, the ensuing water pressure would be signiﬁcant. The effects of pore water should thus be taken into account when calculating the stress state in the backﬁll. In this paper, a previously developed analytical solution (Aubertin et al. 2003; Li et al. 2005a) is extended to obtain the total and effective stresses in submerged backﬁlled stopes under plane strain (2D) conditions. The proposed equations are validated against numerical modeling results obtained by the authors. 3 Proposed Solutions

2 Previous Investigations Basic arching theory was ﬁrst developed by Janssen (1895) to estimate grain pressures in silos. The theory considers that a frictional particulate material placed in a conﬁned narrow container tends to move downward, because of its low stiffness and small yield strength. The surrounding rigid walls then tend to hold the yielding material by shear forces along the interfaces. Consequently, part of the load due to the overburden weight is transferred to the abutments, resulting in a stress reduction in the ﬁll, a phenomenon known as arching (e.g., Handy 1985; Blight 1986; Hunt 1986). The application of arching theory in geotechnical engineering is largely due to the pioneering work of Marston (1930) and collaborators, who used this approach to evaluate vertical loads on conduits placed in trenches (e.g., Spangler and Handy 1984; McCarthy 1988). Terzaghi (1943) later used a somewhat similar approach to assess the stress state above horizontal circular openings (e.g., Iglesia et al. 1999). Subsequent applications of arching theory have also been developed for retaining walls (e.g., Take and Valsangkar 2001), dams with conﬁned cores (Kutzner 1997), and backﬁlled mine stopes (Aubertin 1999; Aubertin et al. 2003, 2005; Li et al. 2005a). Most existing solutions were developed without explicitly considering the presence of water in the

Figure 1 schematically shows a typical vertical, narrow opening in which the ﬁll is partially submerged. Hm is the thickness of the wet (or moist) backﬁll above the phreatic surface (where the pore water pressure uw = 0); Hb is the total height of the backﬁll; Hw is the height of water in the stope; B is the opening width. The key properties of the wet backﬁll are given by the friction angle / and the unit weight cm, while those of the saturated backﬁll are the effective friction angle /0 and unit weight csat. The solution of the stress state can be obtained by solving for a series of element layers, as proposed by Marston (1930) (see also Handy 1985; McCarthy 1988; Li et al. 2005a). The stress state above the water table (h B Hm) is then given by (Aubertin et al. 2003): 1 À expðÀ2Kh tan /=BÞ rvh ¼ cm B ð1Þ 2K tan / 1 À expðÀ2Kh tan /=BÞ rhh ¼ cm B ð2Þ 2 tan / where rvh and rhh are the vertical and horizontal stresses at depth h in the backﬁll; K is the reaction coefﬁcient (also called the earth pressure coefﬁcient) deﬁned as the ratio of the horizontal stress over the vertical stress (K = rhh/rvh). Previous investigations have shown that the stress states were best described

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3

**rock mass void space φ, γm dh Hb Hw rock mass backfilled stope φ', γsat B rock mass
**

0

element layer Hm h V

Ks ¼ r0h r0v ¼ tan2 ð45 À /0 =2Þ

ð8Þ

In this equation, the effective vertical stress is expressed as: r0v ¼ rv À uw ð9Þ

C S

W S V + dV

C

where rv is the total vertical stress and uw is the pore pressure under hydrostatic equilibrium (uw = cw (h Hm); cw is the unit weigh of water; only positive pore pressure is considered: uw C 0). The total horizontal stress then becomes: rh ¼ r0h þ uw ¼ Ks r0v þ uw ð10Þ

Fig. 1 A vertical backﬁlled stope with partially submerged backﬁll

From Eqs. (6) and (9), one can then deduce that: À Á dV ¼ B dr0v þ cw dh ð11Þ Replacing the terms of Eq. (4) by Eqs. (5), (7) and (11), one obtains: dr0v 2Ks tan /0 0 þ rv ¼ csub dh B ð12Þ

by considering the backﬁll in an active state (e.g., Li et al. 2003, 2005a). In the following, the active reaction coefﬁcient will be used in the analytical solution. Hence, for h B Hm, K ¼ Ka ¼ tan ð45 À / =2Þ

2

ð3Þ

The stress state in the saturated backﬁll (h [ Hm) can be evaluated by considering again a horizontal layer element subjected to its own weight W, with a lateral compressive force C, a shearing force S, and the vertical forces V and V + dV. Considering the element layer at equilibrium, one obtains dV þ 2S ¼ W ð4Þ

where csub is the submerged unit weight of the backﬁll deﬁned by: csub ¼ csat À cw ð13Þ

The weight of the backﬁll in this layer (for a unit thickness), W, is given by: W ¼ csat B dh ð5Þ

Solving Eq. (12) and considering the boundary condition r0v ¼ rvHm ; at h = Hm, one obtains the effective vertical and horizontal stresses as: ! Bcsub 2Ks ðh À Hm Þ 0 0 rv ¼ tan / 1 À exp À B 2Ks tan /0 ! cm B 2KHm 1 À exp À þ tan / 2K tan / B 2Ks ðh À Hm Þ Â exp À tan /0 B ð14Þ ! Bcsub 2Ks ðh À Hm Þ r0h ¼ tan /0 1 À exp À B 2 tan /0 ! Ks cm B 2KHm 1 À exp À þ tan / 2K tan / B 2Ks ðh À Hm Þ Â exp À tan /0 B ð15Þ When the stope is fully drained (with Hm C Hb) Eqs. (1) and (2) should be used for the entire stope, with the total stresses being equal to the effective stresses (neglecting the effect of negative pore pressure on the mechanical state).

where dh is the thickness of the element layer. The vertical force V is obtained by assuming a uniform vertical stress distribution along the horizontal plane (this and other assumptions will be discussed later in the paper). It can thus be expressed as: V ¼ rv B ð6Þ

where rv is the total vertical stress. The shearing force S is deﬁned with the commonly used Coulomb criterion: S¼ r0h tan / dh ¼

0

Ks r0v

tan / dh

0

ð7Þ

where Ks is the effective reaction coefﬁcient for the saturated backﬁll:

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When the ﬁll is completely under water (saturated, with uw [ 0 and Hm = 0), the effective vertical and horizontal stresses become: ! Bcsub 2Ks h 0 0 tan / rv ¼ 1 À exp À ð16Þ B 2Ks tan /0 ! Bcsub 2Ks h tan /0 1 À exp À r0h ¼ ð17Þ B 2 tan /0 These equations indicate that the effective stresses are independent of the water level above the backﬁll. The total stresses, however, always depend on the water height (through uw). 4 Representation of the Stress Distribution Figure 2 shows the vertical (Fig. 2a) and horizontal (Fig. 2b) effective stress distribution at different elevations h, calculated with the proposed analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)). The pore pressure and total stress proﬁles are also shown. In this sample illustration, the ﬁll is considered in an active state and the phreatic surface (where uw = 0) is at Hm = 8 m. The width of the stope is B = 6 m. The properties of the wet (or moist) backﬁll above the water table are / = 30°, cm = 18 kN/m3, while those of the saturated backﬁll (below the phreatic surface) are taken as /0 = 30°, csat = 20 kN/m3 (with cw = 9.81 kN/m3). Figure 2 shows that the effective stresses calculated with the proposed analytical solution are much lower than those due to the overburden weight of the backﬁll. Also, a change of slope is observed at the phreatic surface level for the horizontal and vertical stresses, due to the effect of pore pressure on the submerged unit weight

Fig. 2 Vertical (a) and horizontal (b) stresses (effective and total) versus elevation h, based on overburden weight and arching theory; ﬁll is in an active state; the phreatic surface is at Hm = 8 m; B = 6 m; wet backﬁll: / = 30°, cm = 18 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: /0 = 30°, csat = 20 kN/m3

(csub = csat - cw). The effective stresses, based on arching theory, become almost constant (independent of depth) while the stresses based on overburden weight increase linearly with depth. Thus, the overestimation of the effective stresses when calculated with the overburden weight tends to increase with depth. The same can also be said for the total stresses rv and rh. Figure 3 presents the distribution of the effective stresses when the phreatic surface is within the stope and below the base of the stope. It can be seen that the pore pressure tends to signiﬁcantly reduce the vertical and horizontal effective stresses in the backﬁll (and thus the material strength), when compared to the case where there is no positive pore pressure in the stope. The inﬂuence of backﬁll properties (for various / = /0 ) and stope width (B) is illustrated in Figs. 4 and 5, respectively. Results indicate that an increase of the friction angle induces a more pronounced arching effect, thus reducing the effective stresses in the backﬁll (Fig. 4). The friction angle has a more pronounced inﬂuence on the effective stresses when its value is relatively small (up to 30°). When / [ 30° (approximately), a larger friction angle has little effect on the vertical effective stress distribution when the ﬁll is in an active state (see discussion below); this phenomenon is not observed for the horizontal effective stress. For an at-rest stress state (i.e. K = K0 = 1 - sin /0 ), this effect exists but it is much less pronounced (results not shown here). An increase of the stope width B reduces the load transfer due to arching, so that the effective stresses tend to increase with the width (Fig. 5). When the stope becomes very wide, the arching effect can

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5

r0v B!1 r0h B!1

¼ csub ðh À Hm Þ þ cm Hm ¼ Ks ½csub ðh À Hm Þ þ cm Hm

ð18Þ ð19Þ

When the stope is very narrow, the stress distribution changes near the phreatic surface; this particular response is brieﬂy discussed in the last section of the paper.

5 Comparison with Numerical Modeling Results The solutions developed for dry backﬁll have been validated by comparing the calculated stresses with experimental data taken from the literature (Li et al. 2005a). The analytical solution has also been compared with numerical calculation results to further validate the proposed formulation (Li et al. 2003, 2005a). In the absence of experimental data for submerged backﬁll, only the latter validation procedure is applied here. Results from the proposed analytical solutions are compared with numerical modeling results obtained with FLAC-2D (Itasca 2002). The modeling procedure and calculation conditions have been described by Li et al. (2003). Figure 6 shows the reference geometry of the opening (Fig. 6a) and a typical discretization of the problem domain with imposed boundary conditions (Fig. 6b); the rock mass and ﬁll properties are also shown in the ﬁgure. The rock mass is assumed to be linearly elastic while the ﬁll is modeled as a nonlinear elastoplastic Coulomb material. The simulation sequence considers that the stope is ﬁrst mined. Backﬁlling begins after the release of elastic strain along the rock mass walls. The addition of backﬁll is simulated in 15 steps to control the effect of non-static loading in FLAC (each step corresponds to one ﬁll layer); additional ﬁlling steps (or layers) would not signiﬁcantly change the calculated stresses (e.g., Pirapakaran and Sivakugan 2007; Li and Aubertin 2008). Three cases have been considered here: Submerged backﬁll. The phreatic surface is at the backﬁll surface (Hm = 0), so the backﬁll is saturated; the properties are csat = 20 kN/m3 and /0 = 30°. (ii) Backﬁll under water. The backﬁll surface is located 4.36 m below the phreatic surface (i)

Fig. 3 Distribution of vertical and horizontal effective stresses versus elevation h, calculated with the proposed solutions when the backﬁll is saturated (to Hm) or unsaturated (phreatic surface at the base of the stope); the ﬁll is in an active state (calculations made with Hm = 4 m and B = 6 m; wet backﬁll: / = 30°, cm = 19 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: /0 = 30°, csat = 20 kN/m3)

Fig. 4 Illustration of the inﬂuence of the ﬁll friction angle (/ = /0 ) on the vertical and horizontal effective stresses calculated with the proposed solution; the ﬁll is in an active state; the phreatic surface is at Hm = 4 m, with B = 6 m; wet backﬁll: cm = 19 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: csat = 20 kN/m3

completely disappear. In this case, Eqs. (14) and (15) give effective stresses equal to the overburden weight pressure:

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6 Fig. 5 Illustration of the inﬂuence of stope width B on the vertical and horizontal effective stresses calculated with the proposed solution; the ﬁll is in an active state (calculation made with Hm = 4 m; wet backﬁll: / = 30°, cm = 19 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: /0 = 30°, csat = 20 kN/m3)

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(a) y

Hm backfill E = 300 MPa 45 m v = 0.2 = ' = 30° c=0

(b)

(linear elastic) E = 30 GPa v = 0.3 = 27 kN/m3

B=6m rock mass x

Fig. 6 (a) Narrow backﬁlled stope (not to scale) modeled with FLAC-2D; the main properties for the rock mass and backﬁll are given using classical geomechanical notations. (b) Discretization of the problem domain with imposed boundary conditions

(Hm = -4.36 m in Fig. 1); the backﬁll is saturated with csat = 20 kN/m3 and /0 = 30°. (iii) Partially submerged backﬁll. The phreatic surface is 4 m below the backﬁll surface (Hm = 4 m in Fig. 1); the backﬁll above the water table is characterized by cm = 18 kN/m3 and / = 30°; for the saturated backﬁll (under water), csat = 20 kN/m3 and /0 = 30°. Figures 7 and 8 show comparisons between the effective stresses and total stresses obtained from the proposed analytical solution (Case i) and from numerical simulations, for the vertical center-line (VCL) (Fig. 7) and near the walls (Fig. 8). In the

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symmetry axis

rock mass

latter case, the stresses are taken at a small distance (a few cm) from the wall (within the backﬁll to avoid the effect of abrupt localized changes (for rv) due to the large difference in stiffness between the backﬁll and rock mass. Effective and total stresses based on overburden weight are also plotted in Figs. 7 and 8. These comparisons indicate that the effective and total stresses calculated with the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)), assuming the backﬁll is in an active state, are well correlated to those obtained from the numerical calculations with FLAC-2D. The results also show that the stresses calculated using the overburden weight tend to be overestimated when compared to those obtained from the numerical

Geotech Geol Eng (2009) 27:1–11 Fig. 7 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses along the VCL, obtained from numerical calculations and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case i)

7

Fig. 8 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses near the wall, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case i)

Fig. 9 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses along the VCL, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (16) and (17)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case ii)

simulations and the proposed solution, particularly at larger depth. Hence, once again, the analytical solution proposed by the authors based on the arching theory formulation of Marston (1930) appears to correctly represent the load transfer to the abutment surrounding the backﬁll. For the backﬁll under water (Case ii), comparisons between the analytical solution (Eqs. (16), (17)) and

numerical results are shown along the VCL (Fig. 9) and near the walls (Fig. 10). Again, the agreement between the numerical and analytical solutions is quite good. The total and effective stresses would again be overestimated by using the overburden weight. When the backﬁll is only partially submerged (Case iii), the stress distributions show a transition at

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the phreatic surface, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. This slope change is also observed with the modeling results presented in Figs. 11 and 12, which include comparisons with the analytical solutions (Eqs. (14), (15)) along the VCL and near the walls. Once again, the agreement between the numerical results and analytical solution is quite good, and the overestimation from the overburden weight increases with depth.

Fig. 10 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses near the walls, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (16), (17)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case ii)

Hence, in all the sample cases (and others not shown here), the stresses calculated with the proposed analytical solution and with FLAC-2D are well correlated. These stresses are close to those based on the overburden weight at shallow depth in the backﬁll, where arching effects can be considered negligible; the deeper stresses, however, tend to diverge signiﬁcantly.

Fig. 11 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses along the VCL, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case iii)

Fig. 12 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses near the walls, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (Case iii)

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9

6 Discussion 6.1 Particular Responses The use of the proposed analytical solution sometimes reveals particular behavior of backﬁlled stopes. For instance, when the opening is very narrow, calculations indicate that both the vertical and horizontal effective stresses may diminish with depth h, below the phreatic surface. The stresses then tend to become constant with depth. This somewhat unexpected response is also observed in the numerical simulations as shown in Fig. 13. For this sample calculation, the numerical simulation is made using the geometry and material properties given in Case (iii) and Fig. 6, with a stope width B = 1 m (instead of 6 m). Figure 13 shows that both the magnitude and proﬁle of the effective and total stresses obtained with the numerical model correspond well to those predicted by the proposed analytical solution. This type of behavior may be important for narrow vein mines and for small openings ﬁlled with cohesionless materials (with relatively small grain size). The analytical solution also indicates that the effective horizontal stress r0h ; is reduced when the backﬁll friction angle / (or /0 ) is increased (Fig 4). The same effect is also perceived for the effective vertical stress r0v ; but the stress reduction is less pronounced and it is limited to the condition where / B 30° approximately (for K = Ka). Above this value, the stress magnitude (r0v Þ;tends to increase slightly with /, as is shown in Fig. 14. Figure 15 shows the simulated horizontal (Fig. 15a) and vertical (Fig. 15b) effective stresses along the VCL compared to the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)

Fig. 13 Vertical and horizontal effective (a) and total (b) stresses along the VCL, obtained from numerical modeling and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reactive coefﬁcient (Case iii with B = 1m)

using an active reaction coefﬁcient). This ﬁgure illustrates the effect of the friction angle when it is varied from 20 to 40°. It can be seen that the correlation between the results obtained with the proposed solution and the numerical modeling is again quite good. The latter conﬁrms that there is indeed an increase of the effective vertical stress when the friction angle goes from 30° to 40°, as predicted by the proposed analytical solution. 6.2 Final Remarks The comparisons shown above indicate that the proposed solution is valid for the cases investigated, considering the good agreement between the proposed

Fig. 14 Inﬂuence of the ﬁll friction angle / = /0 on the vertical effective stress at h = 22.5 m calculated with the proposed solutions; the ﬁll is in an active state; the phreatic surface is at Hm = 4 m; B = 6 m, wet backﬁll: cm = 19 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: csat = 20 kN/m3, cw = 9.81 kN/m3

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Fig. 15 Horizontal (a) and vertical (b) effective stresses along the VCL, obtained from numerical calculations and the analytical solution (Eqs. (14), (15)) using an active reaction coefﬁcient (calculation made with B = 6 m, Hm = 4 m; wet

backﬁll: cm = 18 kN/m3; saturated backﬁll: csat = 20 kN/m3; blue color with / = /0 = 20°; red color with / = /0 = 30°; green color with / = /0 = 40°)

solution and the numerical modeling results along the VCL and near the walls. A few words of caution are nonetheless required regarding some of the simplifying assumptions behind the analytical solution. For instance, the Marston-based solution assumes that both the vertical and horizontal stresses are uniformly distributed across the full width of the stope. However, this is not entirely the case for dry backﬁll as shown in Li et al. (2003). This discrepancy between the assumed stress distribution and the simulated distribution may explain, at least in part, the fact that the vertical effective stress is somewhat underestimated by Eqs. (14) and (16) along the center-line, while it is overestimated near the walls (see Figs. 7–12). Another limitation of the proposed solution relates to the use of the Coulomb criterion. It is well known that this linear yield function is not always appropriate when dealing with frictional porous media, so other types of criteria may sometimes be preferable, particularly when dealing with tensile stresses or with relatively high mean pressures. In this regard, the authors have developed the general MSDPu 3D criterion (e.g., Li et al. 2005b). This more realistic model is being considered in additional analyses. Other factors neglected here may sometimes need to be taken into account when making a detailed analysis of backﬁlled stopes. For instance, the cohesion of the ﬁll and the inclination of the stope should be considered as numerical modeling results have shown that these factors can in some cases signiﬁcantly affect the stress distribution in backﬁlled stopes (Li et al. 2007). Drainage, consolidation and

settlement with excess pore pressure, progressive displacement of the phreatic surface, and suction induced strength gain (under unsaturated conditions) are other features that are not taken into account here, but which are addressed in complementary investigations conducted by the authors and their collaborators (e.g., Godbout et al. 2004, 2007; Belem et al. 2007).

7 Conclusion In this paper, an existing analytical solution based on arching theory is modiﬁed to distinguish the effective and total stresses within vertical backﬁlled stopes under plane strain conditions, taking into account the effect of positive pore pressure. The solution is validated using numerical modeling results obtained with FLAC-2D, which is applied to a variety of sample cases. The solution proposed here indicates that the presence of water tends to signiﬁcantly reduce the effective stresses below the phreatic surface, while the total stresses may be increased by the pore water pressure. Furthermore, the proposed analytical solution reveals some particular responses of backﬁlled stopes, such as an unexpected reduction of the vertical and horizontal effective stresses below the phreatic surface for very narrow openings. The responses revealed by the proposed analytical solution were conﬁrmed by numerical simulations. The proposed solution is deemed useful to estimate effective and total stresses within narrow, vertical backﬁlled openings, including mining stopes and trenches.

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Geotech Geol Eng (2009) 27:1–11 Acknowledgement The authors acknowledge the ﬁnancial ´ ´ support from the Institut de Recherche Robert-Sauve en Sante ´ ´ ´ et en Securite du Travail du Quebec (IRSST) and from the participants of the Industrial NSERC Polytechnique-UQAT Chair in Environment and Mine Wastes Management (http: //www.polymtl.ca/enviro-geremi/). The authors thank Dr. John Molson for his review of the manuscript.

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