In this study, a unique excavation system was characterized using waterjet technology as the primary tool for material removal during rehabilitation of reinforced concrete and shotcrete structural liners. Through empirical testing, this research seeks to validate the hypothesis that waterjet removal of these support systems will result in less unintended damage than conventional removal methods. The intent is to develop a viable technology that will reduce the collateral damage caused to surrounding liners during excavation, improve the adhesion between shotcrete and the substrate for longer lasting ground support, and improve overall safety for workers in underground environments. An analysis on the fracture mechanisms and operating parameters of each method was completed. Instrumented shotcrete panels were physically tested and examined through visual inspection and ground penetrating radar (GPR) to compare substrate damage according to each testing method. After testing was completed, the data strongly indicate that waterjet cutting causes less collateral damage to the surrounding intact liner and substrate than conventional impact hammers. This research is intended to provide a scientific basis for additional applied research in the rapid excavation and repair of shotcrete support systems.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:2337–2350, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-021-00491-y