Authors: Karampinos, E; Baek, B; Hadjigeorgiou, J

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Karampinos, E, Baek, B & Hadjigeorgiou, J 2018, 'Discrete element modelling of a laboratory static test on welded wire mesh', in Y Potvin & J Jakubec (eds), Caving 2018: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 735-746,

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Although the use of steel mesh is an integral part of the ground support arsenal for underground mines, there are limited design guidelines available. In effect, the role of mesh is not explicitly accounted for in design. The selection of a particular type of mesh is often based on empirical knowledge and field observations. In this context, the use of laboratory testing rigs have been useful, in that they provide the means for a comparative analysis of performance between different types of mesh, for example weld mesh and chain-link under static and dynamic loading. It is noted, however, that for practical reasons the majority of the testing rigs only investigate a single loading mechanism and under specific boundary conditions. The challenge has been how to investigate different loading conditions and to eventually use this knowledge in the design of mesh for underground excavations. The use of numerical modelling can eventually provide a more robust design tool. This paper presents a numerical investigation of the mechanical behaviour of the welded wire mesh using the discrete element method (DEM). As a first step, the focus was on the use of the DEM to reproduce results from laboratory testing rigs of mesh subjected to static load through a loading plate. This paper describes ongoing work to capture the performance of welded mesh. Structural elements in the 3D DEM were calibrated to successfully capture the mechanical behaviour of the welded wire mesh as reported in the tests. The 3D DEM model explicitly simulates the interaction between the loading plate, the testing frame and the surface support elements. The model successfully reproduced the observed stress redistribution on the steel wires, the measured displacement and the failure mechanism of the mesh for the examined test configuration. The proposed technique can be extended to investigate the performance of the welded wire mesh under different loading conditions.

Keywords: ground support, welded wire mesh, discrete element method

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