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Controlling Parameters for Normal and Shear Behaviour of Rock Fractures – A Study of Direct Shear Test Data from SKB (Civil Project)

The deep mining and civil engineering industry need to perform rock stability analyses during excavation projects. The stability is mainly controlled by the shear strength of the rock fractures, which are the weakest point of the rock mass. In turn, the shear strength is governed by the mechanical properties of the fractures.

It is both time and cost demanding to determine the properties of the rock fractures in laboratory. Also, the interpretation of the results requires a deep understanding of the normal and shear behaviour of rock fractures.

This study aims to investigate if it is possible to determine the peak shear strength of rock fractures by merely estimating fracture parameters during field mapping and core logging.

SKB supplied test results on drilled bore cores from site investigations in Forsmark and Laxemar for deep nuclear waste deposits. SKB generated data of high quality and in large quantity, which made it very valuable for the purpose of the study.

The study begins with a literature review and an interaction matrix, clarifying the relationships between mechanical properties and affecting parameters of rock fractures. The predicted relationships of the parameters are then tested in an analysis based on the compiled data from SKB.

The results show that the peak friction angle, the residual friction angle and the dilation angle are possible to approximate for open granite fractures in deep mining projects.

Further on, the study proposes that the joint matching coefficient is included in the field mapping and core logging since it has a strong influence on the mechanical behaviour of the fracture, notably the normal and shear stiffness. Finally, the study questions estimations of JRC on small samples.
Source: KTH
Author: Melin, Hanna

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