Analysis of coal pillar stability (ACPS): A new generation of pillar design software

Christopher Mark, Zach Agioutantis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Thirty years ago, the analysis of longwall pillar stability (ALPS) inaugurated a new era in coal pillar design. ALPS was the first empirical pillar design technique to consider the abutment loads that arise from full extraction, and the first to be calibrated using an extensive database of longwall mining case histories. ALPS was followed by the analysis of retreat mining stability (ARMPS) and the analysis of multiple seam stability (AMSS). These methods incorporated other innovations, including the coal mine roof rating (CMRR), the Mark-Bieniawski pillar strength formula, and the pressure arch loading model. They also built upon ever larger case history databases and employed more sophisticated statistical methods. Today, these empirical methods are used in nearly every underground coal mine in the US. However, the piecemeal manner in which these methods have evolved resulted in some weaknesses. For example, in certain situations, it may not be obvious which program is the best to use. Other times the results from the different programs are not entirely consistent with each other. The programs have also not been updated for several years, and some changes were necessary to keep pace with new developments in mining practice. The analysis of coal pillar stability (ACPS) now integrates all three of the older software packages into a single pillar design framework. ACPS also incorporates the latest research findings in the field of pillar design, including an expanded multiple seam case history data base and a new method to evaluate room and pillar panels containing multiple rows of pillars left in place during pillar recovery. ACPS also includes updated guidance and warnings for users and features upgraded help files and graphics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Mining Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Empirical methods
  • Ground control
  • Pillar design
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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