Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran

2 School of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


The in-situ coal is converted to the synthetic gas in the process of underground coal gasification (UCG).  In order to increase the rate of in-situ coal combustion in the UCG process, the contact surfaces between the steam, heat, and coal fractures should be raised. Therefore, the number of secondary cracks should be increased by raising the heat and existing steam pressure during the process. This paper emphasises on the secondary crack growth mechanism of the pre-existing cracks in the coal samples under different loading conditions. Different geometric specifications such as the length of the pre-existing cracks (coal cleats) and their inclinations are considered. The numerical modeling results elucidate that the first crack growths are the wing cracks (also called the primary or tensile cracks) formed due to unbonding the tensile bonds between the particles in the assembly. Ultimately, these cracks may lead to the cleat coalescences. On the other hand, the secondary or shear cracks in the form of co-planar and oblique cracks may also be produced during the process of crack growth in the assembly. These cracks are formed due to the shear forces induced between the particles as the initial cleat length is increased and exceed the dimension of coal blocks. The cavity growth rate increases as the secondary cracks grow faster in the coal blocks. In order to achieve the optimum conditions, it is also observed that the best inclination angle of the initial coal cleat changes between 30 to 45 degrees with respect to the horizon for the coal samples with the elasto-brittle behavior.


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