Analysis of Wireless Tiltmeters for Ground Stability Monitoring

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Virginia Tech

Tiltmeters can be used in the mining environment to monitor slope stability by making use of gravitational force to measure angles of inclination relative to horizontal. Tiltmeters typically use accelerometers, which output a voltage measurement that can be related to angle of tilt. Though wireless tiltmeters already exist today, they lack certain ruggedness and sensitivity preventing use in mines. The purpose of this project was to investigate the feasibility of using already existing wireless tiltmeters in the mining setting. Additionally, a new wireless tiltmeter was designed which could be specially tailored for the needs of monitoring hazardous rock bodies in both surface and underground mines. By recording angles of any slope, either in a surface mine or underground, over extended periods of time, changes in readings can infer instabilities in the rock mass underlying the slope being measured. By placing many tiltmeters in a mesh on a surface slope or underground roof, rib, or other face, the entire surface can be monitored. Compared to the measurements of a single point using one instrument, a dense network can be extremely useful in detecting rock movement.

Many monitoring techniques are in use already in mines. Traditional methods of monitoring, though undeniably useful, are often time consuming. By utilizing wireless devices that transmit data back to a single location, data acquisition and analysis time can be minimized, saving the mine employee hours as well as down time. As surface mines continue to deepen, and underground mines continue to progress further from the surface, the extent of necessary monitoring continues to increase: this widening range will require greater time for proper monitoring, unless an automated system is implemented. With proper wireless equipment, real time monitoring of an entire mine is possible.

slope stability, mine monitoring, accelerometer, tiltmeter, wireless