Evaluation of influence from matedness on the peak shear strength of natural rock joints

University essay from KTH/Byggvetenskap

Abstract: In Sweden, the rock mass is commonly used for construction of tunnels and caverns. The rockmass is also used as a foundation for large structures such as bridge abutments and dams. Forthese structures, the understanding of the rock mechanical properties play a key role for reachingan acceptable safety level and minimizing cost. One of the properties that has a high uncertaintyis the shear strength of rock joints. These rock joints constitute the weakest link in the rock massand often govern it´s strength. The uncertainty lies in the amount of factors that affect the shearstrength such as the degree of weathering, the matedness, the roughness of the surface and thescale. Various authors have tried to develop a failure criterion that can predict the peak shearstrength of rock joints and takes into account the influence of the various factors.The aim of this thesis is to evaluate the ability of the newly developed Casagrande et al.criterion to determine the peak shear strength for perfectly mated and natural rock joints withdifferent degrees of matedness. All samples analyzed in this thesis have been scanned andcustomized to run in the programmed version of the Casagrande et al. criterion. This iterativeprocess will stop as the application reach the apparent dip angle where the total shearing force issmaller than the total sliding force. This angle combined with the basic friction angle gives thepeak friction angle for calculations of the peak shear strength.The result show that the Casagrande et al. criterion can predict the peak shear strength forperfectly mated joint. However, for the natural rock joint, as the degree of matedness decreases,the accuracy of the prediction of the peak shear strength decreases. The conclusion of this studyis that the Casagrande’s criterion cannot determine the peak shear strength of natural rock jointsand that further development of the Casagrande et al. criterion is needed taking this parameterinto account.

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