Joint funding has been announced for a project to develop a
polymer-based alternative to steel mesh sheet reinforcements in underground
One million dollars in funding from chemical company BASF and
the Australian Coal Association Research Program has been allocated to
hopefully prototype the sprayable, fast-acting solution at the University of Wollongong.
Development of the steel mesh substitute, which replaces the
need to manually lift and install mesh in underground coalmines, has previously
been supported since 2007 by ACARP.
“Because the product can be
spray-applied, ToughSkin is expected to generate significant improvements in
safety, development productivity and effectiveness in the roadway development
support cycle,” said Matthew Ross, Global Head of
Underground Construction Chemicals, BASF SE, in a statement.
According to a March 2009 presentation of the technology, the spray-applied reinforcement sets in seconds
and can be bolted through, in fire resistant and anti-static, and creates no
toxic emissions or irritation during application.
It will be trialled in
Australia, but the product would be internationally relevant if successfully developed.