Document Type: Case Study

Author

Senior Geotechnical Engineer, SCT Operations, Wollongong, Australia/ School of Mining Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Abstract

Numerical modelling techniques are not new for mining industry and civil engineering projects anymore. These techniques have been widely used for rock engineering problems such as stability analysis and support design of roadways and tunnels, caving and subsidence prediction, and stability analysis of rock slopes. Despite the significant advancement in the computational mechanics and availability of high speed computing hardware, the input data and constitutive models remain the main source of errors affecting the reliability of numerical simulations. The problem with the input data has been deepened more by introducing empirical-based methods such as GSI classification to downgrade the rock properties from laboratory scale to field scale. The deformability modulus and strength parameters are the main outputs of these downgrading techniques. Numerical modelling users simply apply these downgrading methods and run the model without considering the real mechanics behind the stress induced failure and deformation around the underground excavations. While to the contrary to the commonly used downgrading methods that produce a constant modulus for rock at all depths, the rock modulus is stress dependent and varies with depth. In addition to this, the mechanism of stress induced displacement is not similar to the deformation of a continuum model simulated with equivalent rock properties. Apart from the mechanical characteristics of rocks, the magnitude and orientation of in-situ stresses are two other important parameters that have significant impacts on stress induced rock fracturing. The impacts of these two parameters have also been neglected in many practical cases. This paper discuss this old fashioned topic in more details with presenting the known facts and mechanics which numerical modelling users ignore them due to the unquestioning acceptance of downgrading methods. It also covers the influence of the stress magnitude and orientation on stress induced rock fracturing.

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