Basalt Technology (Pty) Ltd.

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Many of the products described in other sections find application in mining. However, the applications for underground are specialised and have advantages that cannot be obtained from many synthetic materials. Aspects that make StoneRod products highly valuable are the low mass and non-flammable nature of Basalt fibre. The fibre is formed from lava rock.


headgear impression


One of the advantages of StoneRod material is that should a fire occur, the StoneRod products will not produce fuel for the fire nor will they emit any toxic gases. The materials can withstand heat, and unlike steel, will not lose their tensile qualities. In addition, if material is inadvertently mixed with ore, the basalt will just behave in the same way as conventional basalt ore performs.


The fibre can be produced in a range of different forms, such as rockbolts, basalt fibre mesh, shotcrete fibres, rebar for underground structures, blast curtaining, air duct tapes, woven sleeves for fire and electrical cable shorting control, noise absorption mats, that are good insulators and totally fireproof. They are light and corrosion-proof.


During the development of the basalt fibre material production, the Russian Military used basalt fibre to produce sound-deadeners, flameproof products, bullet-proofing, and insulation materials. Woven fibre wraps were produced to protect sensitive wiring from heat, short-circuits and other negative conditions.


  Rockbolt, nut and washer.


Naturally, mine support is a feature of deep mining. Rockbolts have become available in the range. In a pull-out test, the rod was anchored into a pipe using a suitable grout, and then the nut was tightened. Even though the load was high, the rockbolt could not be dislodged from the grout. Eventually, the basalt nut stripped on the threaded part of the rockbolt, under the washer. An advantage of the basalt based rockbolts is that they can be cut with mechanical miners, and since they are not steel, they will not damage the cutting tools.


  Easy drape mesh.


EFNARC Plate Test


The StoneRod fibre mesh is easily draped on embankments, side walls, or hanging walls for support. In a test conducted using the EFNARC Plate Test, a double layer of mesh gave 65 ton load absorption and 850 joule result. At the end of the 25 mm deflection of the plate, it was removed from the press in one piece although the panel had a typical 4 crack fracture. The panel had to be broken apart using a crowbar to separate the pieces.


  Loading panel in press Marking centre of panel Sand cushion under load cell base First crack at 2.5mm deflection.
  Deflection at corner of panel Shotcrete flakes over thin skin Fibre still attached during separation. Protruding fibre after separation.


The copies of the test results done on the double layer mesh Efnarc panel are given. Thanks is recorded to Technicrete R & D Department, for their assistance in producing the panels, and the testing thereof.


  Table of results obtained from panel. Graph produced from press output panel


StoneRod fibre can be used to reinforce shotcrete, or concrete such as footwall structures. The ease of use allows the material to be rolled out and embedded in wet concrete, which is then overtopped with a further layer of concrete. Screeding and finishing to levels follows. A reinforced road that does not need to have the normal concrete cover, to protect steel reinforcing, results.


Shotcrete fibres are currently under developmental testing. Both 35 mm and 50 mm fibre lengths are being examined. The original tests carried out showed that short fibres were helpful in the first section of Efnarc testing but the aspect ratios were insufficient to allow good adhesion. Twisted thin fibres were also tested but tended to pull out of the matrix. It must be recognised that basalt fibre, for use in deep mining, is a fairly recent opportunity, and development work is continuing.



  Strengthening with rebar Corrosion underground Shaft sinking hanging wall


Fire-proof blast curtaining can be made using StoneRod basalt satin weave fabric. It is not impervious but has excellent fire resistance and is strong. The material will not shrink or burn when exposed to a naked flame. A bunsen burner test was carried out and the fabric withstood the open flame for an extended period. the temperature was estimated to be at around 1100 deg. Celsius. The exposed area glowed in the same way as fine wire mesh but was not burned through. For blast curtaining, allow the material to have some flexibility. Do not stretch it tight.


  Satin weave cloth StoneRod basalt cloth


Unidirectional fabric can be applied in bridge external reinforcement, as well as other construction reinforcement and repair. Basalt fabric can be used for lay up of automobiles, aircraft, ships and household composite fibre applications. It may be used in structural repairs, general and specialised purposes such as producing soft and rigid roofing, fire feltings (for suppression of extremely complex fires resulting from ignition of highly flammable liquids), and for producing reinforcing tapes, as well as repairing the interior and exterior of tubes and pipelines. The materials are available in widths from 100 mm to 1.5 metres.


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