An invention by inventor Charlie Li working at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology could solve one of the biggest challenges facing the mining industry - rock wall failure. Dynamic Rock Support AS, has been spun-off to commercialise the technology.
“The industry is crying out for new energy-absorbing elements for rock reinforcement, and that is what we have,” said Li.
Li’s invention is a new type of bolt for rock reinforcement. The most common way to protect mines and tunnels from rock fall is to install bolts in the country rock. In highly stressed rock masses, rock reinforcement bolts need to be both deformable yet able to bear high loads to securely anchor the moving rock masses.
Li claims no other current rock bolt combines these contradictory characteristics nearly as well as his solution. The anchoring system, combined with the ductile nature of the bolts, enables them to tolerate high loads and rock deformation without breaking unexpectedly, thus absorbing more energy than conventional rock bolts.
“This will significantly improve safety levels in mines and tunnels and reduce operation and maintenance costs,” says Li.
Li has worked with rock reinforcement for more than 15 years, at the University of Technology in Luleå Sweden, as a mining engineer at the Boliden Mineral mining company in Sweden, and at NTNU since 2004.
NTNU Technology Transfer AS helped Li establish Dynamic Rock Support AS, which is owned partly by the entrepreneurs and partly by NTNU (Technology Transfer AS).
Li is the first staff member at the Department of Geology and Mineral Resources Engineering to commercialise technology through NTNU Technology Transfer AS. “Mining geology is a traditional profession and the people working here might not be used to thinking about patenting. I am sure there are several technologies and scientific ideas here that are worthy of commercialisation, because our research is world class,” says Li.