Geotechnical monitoring instruments play an important role within construction, civil engineering, and mining environments. They are extensively used by engineers during construction and expansion projects, and as part of ongoing monitoring activities.
Within mines (surface and underground), and on major construction and civil engineering projects, engineers need to measure many different factors, of which three important ones are:
- The deformation of structures, rock, and soil
- Stresses that impact on structures like tunnels, shafts, walls, embankments etc. as well as bracing related to these
- The flow, pressure, and quantity of surface and groundwater
Various types of geotechnical monitoring instruments and other sensors are used by engineers to measure and provide data about different aspects of rock, soil, or water behaviour, for example:
- Extensometers (e.g. MDT SMART MPBX) – Displacement
- Contractometers (e.g. MDT SMART Contractometer) – Measure convergence and compression
- Instrumented Cable Bolts (e.g. MDT SMART Cable Bolt) – Measure displacement, strain, and load
- Ground Movement Monitors (e.g. MDT SMART GMM100) – Measure general ground movement
- Sloughmeters (e.g. MDT Sloughmeter) – Measure sloughing or caving of ground
- Thermistors – (e.g. ThermistorString-NTC3K) – Measure ground temperature
- Hydrological Sensors (e.g. vibrating-wire piezometers and other types) – Measure aspects relating to water, e.g. depth, pressure, moisture percentage, etc.
The raw data provided by these and other geotechnical monitoring instruments and sensor types is collated, analyzed, and interpreted by engineers to give them an overall understanding of the stresses and mechanics affecting the mine.
This allows them to make decisions regarding how best to manage and control the mine in a way that ensures the highest safety and productivity levels.