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30.08.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2018

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 1/2018

A New Stochastic Approach to Predict Peak and Residual Shear Strength of Natural Rock Discontinuities

Zeitschrift:
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering > Ausgabe 1/2018
Autoren:
D. Casagrande, O. Buzzi, A. Giacomini, C. Lambert, G. Fenton

Abstract

Natural discontinuities are known to play a key role in the stability of rock masses. However, it is a non-trivial task to estimate the shear strength of large discontinuities. Because of the inherent complexity to access to the full surface of the large in situ discontinuities, researchers or engineers tend to work on small-scale specimens. As a consequence, the results are often plagued by the well-known scale effect. A new approach is here proposed to predict shear strength of discontinuities. This approach has the potential to avoid the scale effect. The rationale of the approach is as follows: a major parameter that governs the shear strength of a discontinuity within a rock mass is roughness, which can be accounted for by surveying the discontinuity surface. However, this is typically not possible for discontinuities contained within the rock mass where only traces are visible. For natural surfaces, it can be assumed that traces are, to some extent, representative of the surface. It is here proposed to use the available 2D information (from a visible trace, referred to as a seed trace) and a random field model to create a large number of synthetic surfaces (3D data sets). The shear strength of each synthetic surface can then be estimated using a semi-analytical model. By using a large number of synthetic surfaces and a Monte Carlo strategy, a meaningful shear strength distribution can be obtained. This paper presents the validation of the semi-analytical mechanistic model required to support the new approach for prediction of discontinuity shear strength. The model can predict both peak and residual shear strength. The second part of the paper lays the foundation of a random field model to support the creation of synthetic surfaces having statistical properties in line with those of the data of the seed trace. The paper concludes that it is possible to obtain a reasonable estimate of peak and residual shear strength of the discontinuities tested from the information from a single trace, without having access to the whole surface.

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