Study of a new method to measure the stresses in rock by image technology : Use of sawn slots and DIgital Image Correlation

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Geoteknologi

Abstract: In rock constructions and mining it is important to know the current stress situation in the rock due to safety and construction reasons. Two of the widely used stress measurement methods are overcoring and hydraulic fracturing. Both methods are expensive, need new boreholes, and are complex and time consuming. The methods are also limited by the number of successfully achieved measurements series. An alternative method is therefore investigated by locally relieving stresses around the borehole wall using sawn slots. To determine the stresses in the rock, strain measurements will be done using optics and image processing of images taken before and after cutting of the slots. The images will be processed by a technique called Digital Image Correlation (DIC), a method where the pixels are fitted between the images by the greyscale. The thesis is roughly divided into three parts. The first part explains the basics of rock stresses and current stress measurement methods. The second part is a literature study of the theory behind optics and DIC. There is also a study about if it is possible to use optics from a smartphone and how it differs from a reference commonly used camera in DIC application. Last part consists of numerical calculations in 2D to investigate if there is a possibility to relieve the stress around the borehole walls by cutting slots. With the optics from a smartphone the borehole wall can be in focus on just a few millimeters distance. DIC is a well-developed method which has a good precision when being conducted right and with a good image quality. The combination of using a smartphone and DIC is, however, not fully investigated yet. Only one comparable study was found. It used a Sony tablet and measured the deformations instead of strains. However, that study showed that the measurement error was around 1% compared to the reference camera. When translating deformations into strains, it is most likely that the error will increase, because the error will also be affected from the difference in deformation before and after cutting the slots. The numerical part showed that it’s possible to relieve the stress at parts of the borehole walls for the investigated conditions. To fully relieve the stresses around the borehole wall, it is necessary to have two slots with a short c-c distance and relatively deep slots. In this case a c-c distance of 15 mm and slot depth of at least 25 mm are recommended.

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