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Minerals 2015, 5(1), 86-103; doi:10.3390/min5010086

Loading Capacity and Deformation Characteristics of Tailings Based on a Fractal Geometrical Analysis of the Particle Microstructure

State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, Sichuan, China
School of Oil & Natural Gas Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610500, China
State Key Laboratory of Coal Mine Disaster Dynamics and Control, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karen Hudson-Edwards
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
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The failure of a tailing dam occurs due to damage to the particles’ micro-structure. Understanding the deformation characteristics of the particle’ micro-structure is important for understanding the mechanics of instability in tailing dams. In our study, a series of experiments was conducted using a testing apparatus for micro-mechanics and the deformation of tailings from the Huangcaoping tailing pond, Sichuan Province, China to investigate the loading capacity, micro-structure and deformation features of tailing particles. The latter two were analyzed quantitatively using concepts from fractal geometry. The results demonstrate that: (1) the structural loading capacity of tailings increases first and then decreases slightly with increasing particle size; (2) the particle micro-structure of the four tailing samples from the Huangcaoping tailing pond is described in terms of the fractal dimension based on the perimeter and area (D-value), which is between 1.288 and 1.533; (3) as the axial stress increases, the D-value gradually decreases along a wavy line with a decreasing rate of change; (4) under the same axial strain, the D-value first decreases and later increases slightly as the particle size increases; and (5) the number of fractured particles increases with the particle size. View Full-Text
Keywords: tailings; granular matter; micro-structure; loading capacity; fractal theory tailings; granular matter; micro-structure; loading capacity; fractal theory

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Q.; Yin, G.; Fan, X.; Wei, Z.; Wang, W.; Nie, W. Loading Capacity and Deformation Characteristics of Tailings Based on a Fractal Geometrical Analysis of the Particle Microstructure. Minerals 2015, 5, 86-103.

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