Over the years, the mining industry has been battling with the problem of water leakages in their underground operations. The complexity of the problem is peculiar to the industry. They have used various methods and materials to control the situation to some extent but such measures eventually get exposed again by underground excavations. Some of the materials used in this regard include the addition of fluids with fillers into sand, rubber, cement, silicates or acrylics. This form of control is referred to as grouting within the industry.
Grouting comes in different variations. The first form of grouting uses the mixture of water and a substance such as sand with the aim of forming a suspension. The suspension is then used to fill in the opened spaces that cause the leaks. Another variation may use a substance with water to form dispersion. The dispersed substance is coagulated to fill in the cavities. Others form chemical solutions which are injected into openings.
These variations of solving the leakage problems underground is a complex process as I have already mentioned. More traditional methods such as the suspension form have been successful to a certain extent. During ground movement, they may crack because it is rigid and will re-introduce the previous problem of leakage.
Years of research have led to more effective mechanisms in dealing with the problem. This new form uses scientific approach that has long lasting solution to the problem. It uses denser yet more flexible materials such as rubber. The use of this kind of material fits in tighter to the fissure as a result of water pressure. Even when there is ground movement, it remains stable. So how is the process achieved?
After the injection of rubber emulsion, the mixture flocculates into smaller particles. The formation of the rubber particles may continue through distress, building up to fill up the fissure on walls or where ever they may have been applied. In order for this to happen, there need to be some form of a chemical activation to allow the materials to coagulate. Complex and not a cheap process, the end in the long run is very much worth it. For example, in the mining environment interruptions of water underground can negatively affect operations and that means losing money.