New trends in rock mass characterisation for designing geotechnical structuresDrago Ocepek
, 2005, original scientific article
Abstract: The investigation on designing supporting measures for geotechnical structures consists of the proper selection of the input data for the stress – strain analysis of the excavation process and the selection of retaining measures. In the preliminary phase of investigation the area must be geologically mapped in detail, and discontinuities precisely measured, boreholes and their “in situ” tests listed and samples for laboratory examinations taken. The new method allows rock mass classification for different rock quality, from soft rocks to mixed rock masses, as well as determination of the geological strength index GSI. The limits for using the suggested method are persistent discontinuities in rock mass which lead to translation or rotation failure mechanisms, either in a single plane or as a wedge. In all cases where discontinuities play a significant role, the rock mass structure must be considered and kinematical analyses performed. In other circumstances, a rock may be uniform and reasonably isotropic due to the geometry of discontinuities and their mutual intersections. The value range of GSI is first determined in the beginning of investigation and later in the excavation phase by considering the disturbance factor D, which expresses disturbances caused by excavation methods and rock mass relaxation. The strength and deformability parameters of rocks of different quality are determined by the generalized Hoek-Brown failure criterion and applied to shallow and deep tunnels or slopes. Before the start of excavations work and after establishing the retaining measures, the analysis results are checked by monitoring. New methods include the determination of post peak strength parameters of rock mass after relaxation, and routine measurements. The newest measurement system however allows direct readings of displacements of the rock mass in both the elastic and post-peak states. With back analyses we determine the softening behavior of the rock mass and a possible need for increasing retaining measures. Such a design method enables the optimization of retaining measures and the reduction of investment costs.
Keywords: geological strength index – GSI, simulation of a triaxial large scale »in situ« test, numerical modeling, retaining measures, rock reinforcement, monitoring, back analyses, strain softening, rock mass relaxation
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