Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Jhon Jairo Silva-Castro


On Monday, January 2, 2006, an underground explosion occurred at the Sago Mine WV, resulting in the death of 12 miners and seriously injury to one miner. On Saturday, May 20, 2006, an underground explosion occurred at the Darby Mine No.1 KY, resulting in five miner’s deaths and one miner’s injury.

The explosion of methane gas and coal dust result in many fatalities in the coal mining industry.

The coal mining industry uses mine seals to optimize the ventilation network. Those structures are designed not only to direct the air appropriately, but also, they should be capable of withstanding some levels of dynamic pressures given the occurrence of a methane or coal dust explosion. One fundamental assumption in the analysis of mine seals is that the seal materials (especially for those using concrete or pumpable materials) are continuous and homogeneous solids. In most cementitious materials, during the curing process of the mixture, an exothermic reaction is generated (hydration). The heat produced by the cementitious material during the initial mix, pour, and curing is called heat of hydration. The hydration process, in some cases, causes shrinkage of the mixture, which could generate cracks, fissures, and fractures over the initial curing phase. This phenomenon could weaken the seal or influence its structural integrity.

To date, there is not a study to assess the effects of the hydration process in the possible generation of micro-or-macro-fractures of mine seals. This thesis shows all information collected, processed, assessed, and analyzed during the curing process of these cementitious materials used for mine seals (Visual Inspections, Temperature, Strain, Acoustic Emissions (AE), Ground Penetration Radar (GPR), and Tracer Gas), and attempts to assess the relationship between those parameters and the possible formation of micro-cracks if any in the mine seals.

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