First Advisor

Michael L. Cummings

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology






Rocks -- Testing, Rock mechanics -- Research, Mechanical wear



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, viii, 127 p.)


Wear to mining equipment reduces operational efficiency. If wear rates can be predicted, appropriate matching of alloys to the mine' s geologic conditions can aid in improving the operational efficiency. This study addresses rock characteristics which lead to wear. Macroscopic rock tools which lead to wear include sharp edges and comers on rocks. During a rock/equipment interaction, these rock tools cause high point pressures on the surface of the equipment which leads to ductile cutting and gouging of the surface and subsequent removal of metal. Hard mineral grains, or grain tools, produce abrasion as the grains move across equipment surfaces. Grain and rock tools were analyzed for metamorphic, hydrothermally altered, plutonic, and sedimentary rocks from six mines and quarries. Grain tools were examined by petrographic analysis and Knoop microhardness: rock tools by uniaxial compressive tests, density, and rock size. Fourier analysis of rock and mineral shapes and abrasion tests were used to examine the evolution of tools. Prediction of wear rates appears most closely related to uniaxial compressive strength, Knoop microhardness, and quartz content. Uniaxial compressive strength relates to rock tool endurance; Knoop microhardness contrast between mineral grains and matrix/cement influences evolution of tools during surface interactions; quartz content relates to the abrasive capacity of a rock surface.


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