International Journal of Coal Geology, Vol.169, 1-21, 2017
Image processing based characterisation of coal cleat networks
Characterisation of the cleat network serves as the basis for estimating the hydraulic and mechanical seam properties which in turn are fundamental for flow and geomechanical modelling in the context of underground coal mining. Cleat and cleat network geometry can be described as a function of frequency, aperture, size, orientation relative to in situ stresses, connectivity and porosity, with mineralised and un-mineralised cleats occurring. To describe these properties, CT-scans of core samples of a Bowen Basin coal in central Queensland, Australia, are analysed. A unique image processing workflow method is introduced to extract the key statistical parameters of perpendicular butt and face cleats present in a two-dimensional image. As face and butt cleats have different characteristics, the presented method distinguishes face cleats and butt cleats by direction and present detailed data for both cleat types. The results comprise cleat length, apertures, sizes, intensities, densities, shape parameter, spacing, orientation and connectivity and are therefore more comprehensive than previous cleat descriptions. Three generally different cleat geometries are considered within this study, one sample shows perpendicular face and butt cleats, the second two sets of face cleats intersected by butt cleats and the third parallel face cleats only. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.