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Academic Journal of Science,

CD-ROM. ISSN: 2165-6282 :: 06(01):131146 (2016)

GENERALIZED SHEAR STRENGTH CRITERIA FOR SOFT AND


WEATHERED COAL MINE OERBURDEN DUMP MATERIALS

P.K. Dewangan, M. Pradhan and G.D. Ramtekkar

National Institute of Technology, India

When compared to naturally occurring geomaterials, coal mine overburden (OB) dump material are
highly variable and heterogeneous. The OB dump materials mainly consist of sandstones (fine, medium
or coarse), siltstones, shale, claystones and coal. An understanding of the shear strength characteristics
of geomaterials forming OB dumps in coal mines is required for assessing its stability. The effective
shear strength parameters of OB dump materials depends on a wide variety of interrelated parameters
mainly gradation, average fragment size, intact particle strength, compaction density, water content and
others. Shear strength behaviour of OB dump materials for dump slope design is generally carried out
by small scale laboratory testing using standard size triaxial and direct shear test apparatus on mostly
sand and silt size fines passing through 4.5 mm sieves due to limitations on the size of the testing
equipment. The influence of coarser fraction of rock fragments present on the OB dumps on its shear
strength is not taken in to consideration. The decrease in particle sizes and the production of clay and
silt size fractions due to weathering may also result in a change in the shear strength properties of the
dump material and alter the physical stability of the mine dumps. Therefore accurate estimation of shear
strength parameters of OB dump material for safe and economic design of dumps is required taking in
to account the effect of all the above factors. In this study, a series of large scale and small scale
consolidated drained direct shear tests were carried out on soft and weathered coal mine OB dump
materials having variation in average fragment size, gravel and fine contents. The tests were carried out
on dump materials compacted in the shear box both at natural moisture content and optimum moisture
content and at 90 % of maximum dry unit weight. In order to include effect of compaction density on
shear strength, tests were also carried out on samples compacted at lesser density. Finally, a generalized
shear strength criteria for soft and weathered coal mine OB material was presented in terms of apparent
cohesion and angle of internal friction angle which can be used for slope stability analysis and long
term design of coal mine OB dumps in the similar type of dump material.

Keywords: OB dumps, Shear strength, Direct shear test, Apparent cohesion, Friction angle.

Introduction

India is the third largest producers of coal in the world with 89% of production coming from opencast
mines. Opencast mining operation involves excavation of OB rock lying above the coal seams. The heavy
earthmoving machineries such as draglines, shovels & dumpers etc. excavate the OB rock. Majority of
OB rock is back-filled to the de-coaled area (internal dump) and remaining is dumped outside of the mine
as external dump. Due to increase in the stripping ratio and availability of limited space, both internal and
external dump slopes are desired to be as steep as possible. The fragmentation of rock in a dump is a

131
132 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

product of number of mechanical operations like rock breaking techniques and fragmentation, material
handling and transport system being used. These OB dumps are heterogeneous in terms of fragment size
and structure. Consequently, fragment sizes of materials forming these dumps vary from silt and clay size
(< 75 microns ) to coarse grained soils (> 0.075mm) including sands and gravels as well as large size
cobbles (150 to 300 mm) and boulders (> 300 mm).The OB dumps in most of the opencast coal mines are
usually formed by end tip dumping method which results in formation of dumps with relatively low
density and where the outer slope is just stable under the static loading conditions at angle of repose of
37. Compaction of the dump matrix occurs by the weight of added material and by dumper movement
on it without the use of any specific compaction equipment and little attention is given towards its
compaction requirement without any specific measurement of the maximum compaction density possible
in that material. Moreover these materials are subjected to wide range of environmental and climatic
changes including erosion, ageing, wet dry cycles, seasonal temperature fluctuations and cyclic loading
due to earthquakes, machine movement etc. which results in degradation of strength properties of these
geomaterials and fragment sizes resulting in generation of fines.
The preparation of large-sized dumps is becoming a challenging task for the mine management from
two important perspectives, namely the limited availability of surface leasehold land for dumping geo-
materials and the associated problems of managing the increasing heights of these geo-structures due to
increase in stripping ratio. Hence, slope stability study of OB dump needs to be carried out for
maintaining them at steepest possible angle without any endanger from stability point of view. One of the
most important input parameters for stability analysis is the shear strength values i.e. cohesion and angle
of internal friction of this heterogeneous dump mass. The effective shear strength of OB dump materials
depends on a wide variety of interrelated parameters including: intact particle strength and strength
anisotropy, particle angularity, gradation, lithologic composition, mineralogy, degree of compaction and
saturation. As well, shear strength may change with time due to such factors as consolidation; degradation
due to freeze-thaw, swelling or slaking; oxidation, strains induced by foundation or internal adjustments,
or migration of fines.
The effect of gradation and coarse size fractions on shear strength of sand, sand gravel mixtures, soil
rock mixtures, soil quarry dust mixtures and rock fill materials has been studied by various researchers
(Kokusho et al. 2004, Sridharan 2006, Varadarajan 2006, Cambio and Ge 2007, Ghanbari 2008, Gupta
2009, Lee et al. 2009, Mohammadzadeh 2010, Sharma et al. 2011). OB dump material containing soft and
weathered rock fragments generally derive their strength from interparticle contacts and exhibit
engineering properties similar to weak rockfill geomaterials. In general, it has been found that soil
rock mixtures with less fines has higher strength and hydraulic conductivity than materials with
appreciable fines (Rahardjo et al. 2006, Xu et al. 2011). The importance of particle breakage goes back to
its capability of changing gradations of granular materials. All coarse rock fragments which undergo
stresses higher than normal ranges of geotechnical engineering suffer particle breakage.
Shear strength behaviour of OB dump material for dump slope design is generally carried out by
small scale laboratory testing using standard size triaxial and direct shear test apparatus on mostly sand
and silt size fines passing through 4.5 mm sieves due to limitations on the size of the testing equipment.
The tests are generally carried out on samples compacted at its optimum moisture content or in dry
condition. A shortcoming to this small scale laboratory testing is that oversized rock fragments are usually
scalped to accommodate the testing equipment capacity. The influence of coarser fraction of rock
fragments present on the OB dumps on its shear strength is not taken in to consideration. Above
shortcomings lead to uncertainties associated with the assignment of accurate shear strength parameters
for slope stability modelling and design. The decrease in particle sizes and the production of clay and silt
size fractions due to weathering may also result in a change in the shear strength properties of the mine
rock and alter the physical stability of the mine rock structures. In this study, a series of large scale and
small scale consolidated drained direct shear tests were carried out on soft and weathered coal mine OB
dump materials having variation in average fragment size, gravel and fine contents. Seasonal changes
cause the fluctuations in the natural moisture content of dump materials. Hence, the tests were also carried
out on dump materials compacted at natural moisture content and optimum moisture content. In order to
P.K. Dewangan et al. 133

include effect of compaction density on shear strength, tests were also carried out on samples compacted
at lesser density. Finally, a generalized shear strength criterion for soft and weathered coal mine OB
material was presented in terms of apparent cohesion and angle of internal friction angle which can be
used for slope stability analysis and long term design of coal mine OB dumps in the similar type of dump
materials.

Materials and Methods

Site Description and Geology

OB dump materials were collected from a large, partially consolidated active rock dumps of a large open-
cast coal mine situated in Korba area of SECL. The stratigraphic succession of the Korba coalfield based
on surface and sub-surface data up to the depth of occurrence of the lower most quarriable seam is given
in Table 1.

Table 1. Generalised stratigraphic succession of Korba coal field

Age Formation Thickness Lithology


Recent Soil/weathered zone 4 to 20 m Soil/sub-soil and laterite soil
Fine to coarse grained sand stone,
Lower
Upper Barakar 0 to +34 m sandy shale, grey shale, carb, shale and
Permian
coal seam E & F grade
Medium to coarse grained feldspathic
<15 m to sandstone, occasional shales,
Middle Barakar
+300 m carbonaceous shale and thick coal
seams of D, E & F grade

The OB rock in this area basically consists of fragments of the local sedimentary rocks i.e. medium
to coarse grained sand stone, sandy and carbonaceous shale, broken by blasting and mechanical handling.
The fines content increases by weathering and mechanical breakdown during primary and secondary
handling. The OB dump material mainly comprises of 60%80% sandstone, 20%30% shale with minor
percentages of shaly coal and some soil.
In situ density of the dump was measured at the site of sample collecting faces. Samples were
collected from these sites for measuring the natural moisture content of the dump material. During
collection of sample from the dump, larger rock fragments more than 100 mm in size were discarded at
the site itself. Bulk quantities of OB dump material were collected from all parts of the dump area and
approximately 5000 kg of OB dump material were transported from mine to the laboratory in a covered
vehicle.

Dump Material Characterization

The geotechnical characterisation of OB dump material is essential for addressing various issues related
with design and analysis of stability of OB dumps. In situ density was measured by core cutter method on
dump platforms and to verify the results, sand replacement method was also used. Natural moisture
content of the dump materials collected from these test sites was measured in the laboratory. The various
relevant geotechnical index tests were performed in the laboratory as per IS standards to classify the
investigated materials. Measurements of grain size, point load strength index, slake durability index,
134 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

natural moisture content, specific gravity and Atterberg limits were carried out to characterize the OB
dump materials and the results are presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Geotechnical properties of OB dump rock material

Properties Range of values Mean S.D.


3
In situ dry unit weight, kN/m 16.38 to 16.97 16.68 0.27
Natural moisture content, % 3.81 to 4.20 4.00 0.14
Specific gravity 2.59 to 2.71 2.65 0.03
Point load strength index, MPa 0.40 to 1.00 0.63 0.20
Second cycle slake durability index, % 72.10 to 83.20 78.06 3.89
Liquid limit, % 18.6
Plastic limit Non-plastic
Grain size analysis Gravel fractions 78%
Sand fractions 17%
Silt and clay fractions 5%

Sample Preparation

Particle size analysis of the dump materials were carried out in the laboratory as per IS Standard IS 2720
(part 4) 1985 to know the size distribution of the rock fragments forming the dump and a modelled
gradation curve (proto type sample) was prepared to represent the size of rock fragments present in the
dump material. During sieving also, rock fragments larger than 80 mm were removed. Testing the
prototype dump material was almost impossible because of its coarseness and the limitations of the shear
box dimensions. Therefore, the laboratory specimens were scaled by some degrees and all the compaction
and shear tests were performed on this reduced gradation which is parallel to the proto type. During
sieving of dump sample, the rock fragments passing through different sieve sizes ranging from 31.5 mm
to less than 200 m were collected in separate bags /containers. Using parallel gradation technique
developed by John Lowe(1964), these rock fragments of different sizes collected in different
bags/containers were then mixed together to produce a well graded experimental sample having size
distribution parallel to the proto type representing the particle size distribution of the actual dump material
in the field. Numerous researchers have tested materials based on this model and validated the
effectiveness of this model to estimate the shear strength of rock fills and rail ballast (Sitharam and
Nimbkar 2000, Varadrajan et.al. 2003, Cambio and Ge 2007, Sevi 2008, Ghanbari 2008). After oven
drying of rock fragments separated through sieving, three different types of modelled material were
prepared using the above method having average fragment size of 9, 3.65 and 1.6 mm and were named as
GTODS1, GTODS2, GTODS3 and STODS respectively (Fig 1). The percentage of clay and silt size
fractions were kept same in all these prepared samples and ranged from 5 to 8 %. The gradational
characteristics, including fragment size, gravels and fines content, uniformity coefficient, coefficient of
curvature etc. are summarized in Table 3. The purpose of varying fragment sizes of the samples was to
include the effect of presence of coarser rock fragments on shear strength behaviour of coal mine OB
dump material. Large shear box having size of 300 mm x 300 mm x 190 mm was used for conduction of
direct shear tests on GTODS1 and GTODS2. Small scale direct shear tests were performed on GTODS3
and STODS using a shear box of size 60mm x 60mm x 31mm.
P.K. Dewangan et al. 135

Figure 1. Gradation curves of Proto type and experimental OB dump materials

Table 3. Gradational characteristics of prepared various experimental OB dump material

Sample Name Maximum Average Coefficient Coefficient Gravel Silt and Group
Fragment fragment of of content, clay Symbol
size, size, Uniformity Curvature, > 4.75 content, as per
Dmax, mm D50, mm , Cu Cc mm < 0..06 BIS
mm by
weight
Proto type sample 80.00 18.5 23.0 2.80 78 5 GW
(PTS)
Gravel type OB 31.50 9.00 24.0 2.78 67 5 GW-GM
dump sample 1
(GTODS1)
Gravel type OB 31.50 18.00 8.8 2.78 66 3 GW-GM
dump sample 2
(GTODS2)
Gravel type OB 10.00 3.35 22.5 2.84 40 6 GM
dump sample
(GTODS3)
Sand type OB dump 4.75 1.60 23 2.78 0 8 SM
sample (STODS)

Test Program

Heavy Procter compaction tests were conducted as per IS 2720 (Part 8) -1983 to establish the maximum
dry unit weight and optimum moisture content (OMC) of the coarse grained dump material i.e. GTODS1,
GTODS2 and GTODS3. To measure the maximum dry density and optimum moisture content of
STODS, light compaction test were conducted following the procedures laid down as per IS : 2720
(Part 7) 1980.
136 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

Fig 2 depicted the compaction curves of all the four types of prepared experimental OB dump
material along with the zero-air-void line. In all the four types of OB dump material, the percentage of
gravels and sand fractions were in the range of 92 to 95 % and clay and silt size fractions were in the
range of 5 to 8 %. The various prepared dump materials GTODS1, GTODS2 and GTODS3 can be
considered as coarse grained gravelly soils whereas STODS can be categorised as sandy soils as per IS
1498 r, 1970. These dump materials can be considered as cohesionless. Cohesionless soils are relatively
pervious even when compacted, thus they are not significantly affected by the water content.
Consequently, the peaked shape of the moisture-density curve that is characteristic of cohesive soils is not
well defined in cohesionless soils. The shape of the compaction curve is relatively flat as compared to
cohesive soil (inverted V shape). The maximum dry unit weight of prepared dump samples were found
varying between 19.18 to 20.02 kN/m3 and the OMC ranges between 9 to 11%.

Figure 2. Compaction curves of various OB dump material samples

Large scale direct (LSD) shear tests for this study were carried out using multispeed direct shear
equipment. All the LSD shear tests were conducted as per IS 2720 (Part 39, Sect. 1-1977) at five different
values of normal stress levels and corresponding shear loads and horizontal (shear) displacements were
monitored and recorded. In the direct shear test, the soil was compacted in five different layers and then
consolidated for some time under an applied normal stress. After consolidation, the specimen was sheared
directly at a constant rate of deformation. To avoid the build of pore water pressure during the test, the
strain rates chosen were very low and of the order of 0.2 mm/min. Small scale direct (SSD) shear tests
were performed on GTODS3 and STODS in a similar manner at the same strain rate.
In order to study the effect of moisture content on shear strength parameters of OB dump materials,
samples were compacted in the shear box at two different moisture content levels, first one corresponding
to optimum moisture content and second one compacted at natural moisture content i.e.4%.
The influence of normal stress on the shear strength parameters of OB dump material was carried out
by conducting SSD shear tests on GTODS3 and STODS at very low normal stress levels (10 kPa to
20 kPa).
The effect of compaction density on the shear strength behaviour of OB dump material was
studied by conducting SSD shear test on GTODS3, which is compacted at two different unit weights of
P.K. Dewangan et al. 137

17.66 kN/m3 and 15.65 kN/m3 (90 and 80% of maximum unit weight as determined from compaction
tests) and at OMC.

Results and Discussions

The Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope was approximated as linear within the stress range used in these
tests. The peak and residual shear strength values for GTODS1 and GTODS2 have been interpreted from
the results shown in Fig 3. The peak and residual friction angle for GTODS1 was found 29.110 and 26.100
respectively whereas for GTODS2 it was found 31.170 and 26.670 respectively. From the failure
envelopes drawn it is seen that both OB dump material GTODS1 and GTODS2 show a small cohesion
intercepts of 18.36 kPa and 5.47 kPa respectively. This apparent cohesion reduces further after residual
condition has been reached. The apparent cohesion for OB dump material is generally neglected by
geotechnical engineers for slope stability design. Presence of this apparent cohesion in coal mine spoil
material has been reported by Ulusay et al. 1995 and in soil quarry dust mixtures by Sridharan et al. 2006.
The measured cohesion in OB dump material are due to moisture present in the samples that caused
induced suction and also because of presence of some clay and silt fractions.
Peak apparent cohesion was found higher in GTODS1 mixture because of its higher coefficient of
uniformity which resulted in better interlocking and packing among the rock fragments. However peak
angle of internal friction of GTODS2 mixture was found higher by 20 as compared to GTODS1 mixture
as the average fragment size was more in case of GTODS2. Lewis, 1956 concluded that the friction angle
increases with increasing particle sizes. He attributed this to increase in interlocking of particles and an
increase in dilatational tendencies of the larger particles. Similar trends have been reported by Nakao and
Fityus, 2008 on typically ripped rock material of marginal quality. They concluded that the higher
effective shear strength values measured using large shear box was mostly due to the presence of larger
particles with little of the effect being due to the size of the shear box used in the test. The results are also
in close agreement with those reported by Nieble et al., 1974; Wang et al., 2013 and Kim et al., 2014 on
granular materials and coarse grained soils.
A series of small scale direct shear tests were conducted on scaled down samples GTODS3 and
STODS which have lower fragment sizes and gravel contents. The gravel content and average fragment
size in GTODS3 was 40 % and 3.6 mm and in STODS it was 0% and 1.6 mm. Both were having same
uniformity coefficient (Table 3). Shear tests were carried out at the same normal stress and displacement
rate to compare the test results. Fig 4 presents the results obtained in terms of Mohr Coulomb friction plot
for both the samples and compares the shear strength parameters obtained. Peak apparent cohesion was
found much higher in case of STODS while peak friction angles was found lower by almost 3.30 than
GTODS3. The higher friction angle recorded in case of GTODS3 was mainly due to presence of larger
size rock fragments and higher gravel content, while the higher fines content in STODS resulted in
increase in cohesion of the mixture. Goel, 1978 studied the effect of particle size on shear strength by
increasing the gravel content in shear test samples. The direct shear test results showed that by increasing
the gravel content of gravelly sand from 30% to 50%, the friction angle is increased approximately 20.
Particle size affects the shearing strength by influencing the amount of shearing displacement required to
overcome interlocking and to bring the grains to a free sliding position. Accordingly, a coarser material is
supposed to exhibit higher friction than a finer material because larger particles need more effort to
overcome interlocking than smaller particles. Table 4 summarizes the results obtained from both LSD and
SSD shear tests obtained on all these four modelled OB dump material.
138 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

Figure 3. Peak and residual shear strength envelops for GTODS1 and GTODS2 samples

Figure 4. Peak shear strength envelops for GTODS3 and STODS

Table 4. Peak apparent cohesion and angle of internal friction of various dump material samples

Peak apparent Peak internal


Sample
cohesion, kPA friction angle
Gravel type OB dump sample 1 (GTODS1) 18.36 29.110
Gravel type OB dump sample 2 (GTODS2) 5.47 31.170
Gravel type OB dump sample 3 (GTODS3) 6.385 28.940
Sand type OB dump sample (STODS) 22.89 25.590
P.K. Dewangan et al. 139

In order to study the influence of normal stress on the shear strength parameters of OB dump
material, small scale direct shear tests were conducted on GTODS3 and STODS at very low normal stress
(10 kPa to 20 kPa). Results are compared with the shear strength parameters obtained earlier at higher
normal stress levels (Fig 5). At low normal stress, a significant reduction in peak cohesion was observed.
However the internal friction angle increased considerably and approached towards its static angle of
repose. For instance, the internal friction angle of GTODS3 and STODS were found increased to 40.790
and 33.460 from 28.540 and 25.590 respectively. An increase in friction angle with the decrease in
confining stress was reported by Honkanadavar et al. 2012 for river bed and quarried blasted rock
material.
The high values of internal friction angle at low normal stress are believed to be related to the inter
particle contact forces that are well below the crushing strength of the rock and the ability of the
interlocking particles to dilate under lower stress levels. Shear strength of rockfill materials under low
confining pressure condition was investigated by Yamaguchi et al., 2008 by conducting large scale box
shear tests and the results were compared with static angle of repose measured by surface sliding tests. He
reported that the angle of internal friction determined by box shear tests at low confining pressure are
equivalent to static angle of repose.

Figure 5. A plot showing effect of normal stress on shear strength of coal mine OB dump rock material

Tests were also carried out on the above mixtures at moisture content well below the OMC to
investigate the effect of moisture on the shear strength behaviour. Tests were performed on GTODS1
samples compacted at NMC at the same strain rate and normal stress levels. The peak and residual shear
strength parameters for GTODS1 compacted at OMC and NMC is shown in Fig 6. The overall mobilized
shear strength was slightly increased for mixture compacted at the moisture content below the OMC.
Similar result was reported by Yu et al., 2006 on rock fill materials. He concluded that water can lubricate
the gravel grains and reduce the sliding friction coefficient between particles that results in reduction in
the peak shear stress. The peak internal friction angle of OB dump material sample GTODS1 compacted
at NMC and OMC was found 31.960 and 29.110 respectively. Thus a significant reduction in friction
angle occurred for the sample compacted at OMC. It compares favourably with that observed by
Kandolkar et al., 2013 on the shear strength parameters of stone dust. Studies by Zellar and Wullimann,
1957 on non-cohesive gravelly sand and boulder material have shown that the shear strength decreases by
10% to 15% with increase in the water content.
140 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

The peak apparent cohesion of OB dump material sample GTODS1 compacted at NMC and OMC
was found 16.34 kPa and 18.36 kPa. A slight reduction in peak apparent cohesion was noticed with the
decrease in moisture content. Similar trend of reduction in cohesion with the increase in moisture content
was reported for Al-Qatif clay by Daffalla 2013.

Figure 6. Peak and residual shear strength envelopes showing effect of moisture content on
shear strength parameters of GTODS1

Figure 7. Peak and residual shear strength envelopes showing effect of moisture content on
shear strength parameters of GTODS3
P.K. Dewangan et al. 141

Figure 8. Peak and residual shear strength envelopes showing effect of moisture content on
shear strength parameters of STODS

To verify the results obtained, SSD shear tests were also conducted on GTODS3 and STODS
compacted at NMC i.e. 4%. The failure envelopes are shown in Fig 7 and 8 respectively. The tests were
conducted at the same strain rate and same normal stress to compare the results. A similar effect was
observed in the shear strength behavior of GTODS3. The peak friction angle was noticed around 20 more
for both GTODS3 and STODS. However peak apparent cohesion was found slightly lower for GTODS3
and slightly higher for STODS (Table 5).
One of the main reasons for this increase in apparent cohesion in case of STODS was due to more
matric suction for sample compacted at lesser moisture content. The magnitude of this type of apparent
cohesion can be extremely large especially in fine grained soils, when the degree of saturation is less than
85% (Petersen 1988, Fredlund et al. 1995). Capillary stresses develop between particles in a partially
saturated soil due to surface tension in the water. The surface tension (negative pressure) in the water
produces an equal and opposite effective stress between the soil particles, which results in an apparent
cohesion. Such capillary stresses can be overcome by an increase in the degree of saturation. Matric
suction in the soil increases during dry periods and decreases during wet periods. Matric suction increases
the shear strength of the soil and therefore the factor of safety of the slope increases. (Hossain, 2010).
The overall mobilized shear strength was slightly increased for mixture compacted at the moisture
content below the OMC. Gallage and Uchimura, 2010 also found the similar results on silty soils and
concluded that shear stress-shear displacement curves obtained from soil specimens subjected to the same
net normal stress and different suction values showed a higher initial stiffness and a greater peak stress as
the suction increased.

Table 5. Peak apparent cohesion and angle of internal friction of various OB dump material at OMC and NMC

Sample Samples compacted at OMC Samples compacted at NMC


Peak apparent Angle of internal Peak apparent Angle of internal
cohesion, kPa friction cohesion, kPa friction
GTODS1 18.36 29.110 16.34 31.960
GTODS3 6.38 28.940 4.52 30.370
STODS 22.89 25.590 25.96 27.080
142 Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for Soft and Weathered ...

The results of SSD shear test conducted on OB dump material sample GTODS3 compacted at OMC
but at two different unit weights of 17.66 and 15.65 kN/m3 is compared and shown in Fig 9. The peak
internal friction angle and peak apparent cohesion of OB dump material sample GTODS3 was reduced to
22.850 and 0.52 kPa respectively.

Figure 9. Peak and residual shear strength envelopes showing effect of compaction density on
shear strength parameters of GTODS3

Generalized Shear Strength Criteria for OB Dump Material

As investigated above, the effective shear strength parameters of OB dump material depends on a wide
variety of interrelated parameters including gradation, average fragment size, intact particle strength,
compaction density, water content and some others. The decrease in particle sizes and the generation of
clay and silt size fractions over a period of time due to weathering in the dump material causes change in
its gradational characteristics and affects the shear strength properties of the dump material. For safe
designing of dump slopes, reliable values of shear strength parameters of overburden dump material are
required which will take care of all the above mentioned parameters. Therefore a generalized shear
strength criteria for soft and weathered coal mine OB material was evaluated by combining all the shear
test results which were performed at various moisture content, compaction density, stress levels and
material having difference in gradations and fragment sizes. The shear strength envelope so established is
presented in Fig 5.30 which gives apparent cohesion and angle of internal friction angle of soft and
weathered coal mine OB dump material as 4.72 kPa and 31.210 respectively. The values can be used for
both short term and long term design of OB dumps of heights of up to 60 m in the similar type of dump
materials. The value compares favourably with those obtained for coal mine spoil material elsewhere
(Ulusay et al. 1995, Fernando and Nag 2003, Simmons 2004, Koner and Chakravarty, 2010, Kainthola
et al. 2011, Rai et al. 2012, Verma et al. 2013).
P.K. Dewangan et al. 143

Figure 10. Shear strength envelope for soft and weathered coal mine OB dump material

Conclusion

The investigated OB dump material was a moderate to low strength material and its shear strength can
reduce significantly due to increase in the percentage of fines as indicated by its slake durability index. A
generalized shear strength criteria for soft and weathered coal mine OB material was evaluated by
combining all the shear test results which were performed at various moisture content, compaction
density, stress levels and material having difference in gradations and fragment sizes. The analysis give
apparent cohesion and angle of internal friction angle of soft and weathered coal mine OB dump material
as 4.72 kPa and 31.210 respectively which can be used for both short term and long term design of OB
dumps in the similar type of dump materials having heights up to 60 m .

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