Feasibility of long-term ground control with stainless steel friction rock bolts

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 83, No. 940, 1990

P.K. Kaiser, S.M. Maloney, Geomechanics Research Centre, and S.P. Singh, School of Engineering, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario.

Corrosion of underground support measures constitutes a concern to industry in both safety and economic terms. It also represents a potential market for corrosion resistant materials such as stainless steel. In order to assess the market potential for a stainless steel friction rock bolt, a review of current corrosion processes and remedial or preventative measures in the underground environment was undertaken. This was supplemented by distribution to industry of a detailed questionnaire, concerning the magnitude and extent of support corrosion and the costs of current support measures, and by visits to selected sites. Following data synthesis, support costs were established and the economic benefit of stainless steel rock bolts evaluated. Stainless steel rock bolts can be an effective cost reducing measure in unscreened areas requiring frequent reconditioning. Their benefit is rapidly diminished, however, if only partial reconditioning is required, the reconditioning interval is long or if screening is required. While most industry personnel are receptive to the application of stainless steel support measures, the localization of corrosion problems and the potential high cost of this type of support are barriers to its widespread implementation. They have potential for use in extreme environments. However, this relatively small market may not be economically viable.
Keywords: Rock mechanics, Ground control, Rock bolting, Corrosion.