A numerical investigation of rock pillar failure mechanism in underground openings

A. Mortazavi, F. P. Hassani, M. Shabani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


The study of rock pillar failure mechanisms is an issue that is faced routinely in mining and civil industries. In mining operation, the establishment of several mining levels is often necessary to ensure adequate production. This result in the formation of pillars that must be recovered under often high stress conditions at later stages of excavation. It is, therefore, beneficial to develop guidelines that can be used in the design of rock pillars. The aim of this paper is to delve into the mechanisms involved in pillar failure as well as to investigate the non-linear behavior of rock pillars. An extensive numerical analysis was carried out to study the pillar deformation and failure process under natural loading conditions. Effects of pillar geometry and pillar strength parameters on pillar behavior were investigated for hard rock material typical of Canadian mining conditions. Numerical data were compared against field data recorded in Canadian mines. A fairly good match was achieved between numerical and field data and the conducted analysis can be used as a qualitative guideline in the design of rock pillars in underground structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-697
Number of pages7
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Mining
  • Numerical modeling
  • Pillar failure
  • Rock mechanics
  • Strain-softening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computer Science Applications

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