We report laboratory experiments to investigate the role of gas desorption, stress level and loading rate on the mechanical behavior of methane infiltrated coal. Two suites of experiments are carried out. The first suite of experiments is conducted on coal (Lower Kittanning seam, West Virginia) at a confining stress of 2 MPa and methane pore pressures in the fracture of 1 MPa to examine the role of gas desorption. These include three undrained (hydraulically closed) experiments with different pore pressure distributions in the coal, namely, overpressured, normally pressured and underpressured, and one specimen under drained condition. Based on the experimental results, we find quantitative evidence that gas desorption weakens coal through two mechanisms: (1) reducing effective stress controlled by the ratio of gas desorption rate over the drainage rate, and (2) crushing coal due to the internal gas energy release controlled by gas composition, pressure and content. The second suite of experiments is conducted on coal (Upper B seam, Colorado) at confining stresses of 2 and 4 MPa, with pore pressures of 1 and 3 MPa, under underpressured and drained condition with three different loading rates to study the role of stress level and loading rate. We find that the Biot coefficient of coal specimens is <1. Reducing effective confining stress decreases the elastic modulus and strength of coal. This study has important implications for the stability of underground coal seams.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology