Constitutive modelling of cemented paste backfill: A data-mining approach

New paper published on Construction and Building Materials

Title: Constitutive modelling of cemented paste backfill: A data-mining approach

Authors: Chongchong Qi, Qiusong Chen, Andy Fourie, Xiaolin Tang, Qinli Zhang Xiangjian Dong & Yan Feng

Abstract: The environmental risks posed by mine tailings suggest the necessity of recycling tailings as cemented paste backfill (CPB) and constitutive modelling is an important step to understand its mechanical stability. In the present work, a novel data-mining approach is proposed for the stress-strain relationship modelling of CPB considering the coupled effect of cement/tailings ratio, solids content and curing time. The proposed approach is based on the random forest (RF) and firefly algorithm (FA), which can operate on large quantities of data for nonlinear and complex relationships modelling. RF was used to model the CPB constitutive relations while FA was used to tune the RF hyper-parameters. Unconfined compression tests were performed for the dataset preparation. The reliability and robustness of the proposed approach, the RF_FA, has been verified against experimental data. Results showed that the hyper-parameters of RF could be efficiently tuned by FA and the optimum hyper-parameters were obtained at the fifth generation. Moreover, the RF_FA possessed excellent prediction capability for the stress-strain relationship modelling (the correlation coefficient values between predicted and experimental stress values were 0.991 on the training set and 0.989 on the testing set). External verifications were further carried out to illustrate the performance of the RF_FA using several statistical criteria recommended in the literature. Consequently, it can be suggested that the RF_FA paves a new way in the constitutive modelling of CPB, which is of great significance for its engineering application.

Keywords: Cemented paste backfill; constitutive modelling; unconfined compression tests; random forest; firefly algorithm.

Reviewer 1: This paper gives results of the stress-strain behavior of cemented paste backfill (CPB) based on a new data-mining approach.  The structure of the manuscript is well organised. The authors have obtained good results, which are well analyzed and also consistent with the literature. To my understanding, the novelty of this study consists mainly on producing quantitative results and establishs some link between stsress-strain behaviour of CPB samples with different cement/tailings ratios, solid contents and curing times. The authors should be commended for that.

This reviewer suggests a minor revision for improving the manuscript. Once the revisions suggested are done, this reviewer feels that the revised manuscript should be accepted for publication.

This is a great paper!

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