Gob-side entry retaining (GER) employed in a thin coal seam (TCS) can increase economic benefits and coal recovery, as well as mitigate gas concentration in the gob. In accordance with the caving style of a limestone roof, the gas concentration and air pressure in the gob were analyzed, and a roof-cutting mechanical model of GER with a roadside backfill body (RBB) was proposed, to determine the key parameters of the GER-TCS, including the roof-cutting resistance and the width of the RBB. The results show that if the immediate roof height is greater than the seam height, the roof-cutting resistance and width of the RBB should meet the requirement of the immediate roof being totally cut along the gob, for which the optimal roof-cutting resistance and width of RBB were determined by analytical and numerical methods. The greater the RBB width, the greater its roof-cutting resistance. The relationship between the supporting strength of the RBB and the width of the RBB can be derived as a composite curve. The floor heave of GER increases with increasing RBB width. When the width of the RBB increased from 0.8 m to 1.2 m, the floor heave increased two-fold to 146.2 mm. GER was applied in a TCS with a limestone roof of 5 m thickness; the field-measured data verified the conclusions of the numerical model.
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