The sprayed concrete layer, together with external welded wire mesh, has been widely used as an important surface support in underground excavation in civil and mining engineering. Recently, the load carrying capability of combined concrete layer and welded wire mesh was evaluated by a round determinate panel (RDP) test. However, performance assessment by using RDP specimens is hindered by the testing boundary condition and the failure pattern and mechanism of combined concrete layer and welded wire mesh remains unclear. In this paper, the numerical model of the RDP test was set up by means of a FEM code, ABAQUS, and a series of numerical tests were carried out to investigate the failure mechanism and the influence of boundary condition on the performance of the RDP tests. To ensure the constitutive model of concrete embedded in ABAQUS and the material parameters were correctly used, the numerical models were first calibrated by the laboratory results with different concrete panel thickness without using welded wire mesh. After that, the performance of the combined concrete layer and welded wire mesh was examined by using the calibrated concrete model and mesh model and the failure mechanism of the combined specimens was obtained. The results show that the failure pattern matches the laboratory observation rather well and the peak load carrying capacity of the combined concrete layer and welded wire mesh panel is a little higher than that of the concrete only panel but the residual load carrying capacity has been improved. The boundary condition has large effect on the load-displacement curve, which is discussed in detail in the paper. The objective was to develop a numerical methodology which could be used to evaluate the load carrying capacity of combined concrete layer and welded wire mesh and thereby improve the assessment of the performance of shotcrete and welded wire mesh on site.
Welded wire mesh has been used as a surface support in rock underground engineering since the 1950s. With the increase of excavation depth, welded wire mesh becomes popular in supporting underground excavations, in particular for burst-prone ground where high risk of rockburst is expected or squeezing ground where large deformation is expected. Even though welded wire mesh has been used in different mines with certain success, selection of the mesh is still based on trial and error rather than any rigorous design methodology (Gadde et al., 2006).