This paper presents a complex study of anhydrite interbeds influence on the cavern stability in the Mechelinki salt deposit. The impact of interbeds on the cavern shape and the stress concentrations were also considered. The stability analysis was based on the 3D numerical modelling. Numerical simulations were performed with use of the Finite Difference Method (FDM) and the FLAC3D v. 6.00 software. The numerical model in a cuboidal shape and the following dimensions: length 1400, width 1400, height 1400 m, comprised the part of the Mechelinki salt deposit. Three (K-6, K-8, K-9) caverns were projected inside this model. The mesh of the numerical model contained about 15 million tetrahedral elements. The occurrence of anhydrite interbeds within the rock salt beds had contributed to the reduction in a diameter and irregular shape of the analysed caverns. The results of the 3D numerical modelling had indicated that the contact area between the rock salt beds and the anhydrite interbeds is likely to the occurrence of displacements. Irregularities in a shape of the analysed caverns are prone to the stress concentration. However, the stability of the analysed caverns are not expected to be affected in the assumed operation conditions and time period (9.5 years).
The cohesion and internal friction angle were characterized as quadratic functions of strain and were assumed to follow the Mohr-Coulomb criterion after the yield of peak strength. These mechanical parameters and their variations in post-peak softening stage can be exactly ascertained through the simultaneous solution based on the data points of stress-strain curves of triaxial compression tests. Taking the influence of the fault into account, the variation of strata pressure and roadway convergence with coal advancement, the temporal and spatial distribution of axial bolt load were numerically simulated by FLAC3D (Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua) using the ascertained post-peak mechanical parameters according to the cohesion weakening and friction strengthening model. The change mechanism of axial load of single rock bolt as abutment pressure changes was analyzed, through the comparison analysis with the results of axial bolt load by field measurements at a coal mine face. The research results show that the simulated results such as the period of main roof weighting, temporal and spatial distribution of axial bolt load are in accordance with field measurement results, so the validity of the numerical model is testified. In front of the working face, the front abutment pressure increases first and then decreases, finally tends to be stable. A corresponding correlation exists between the variation of axial bolt load and rock deformation along the bolt body. When encountered by a fault, the maximum abutment pressure, the influential range of mining disturbance and the roadway convergence between roof and floor before the working face are all increased. In the roadways along the gob, axial bolt loads on the side of the working face decrease, while the other side one increases after the collapse of the roof. As superficial surrounding rock mass is damaged, the anchoring force of rock bolts will transfer to inner rock mass for balancing the tensile load of the bolts.