Authors: Lambert, C


Cite As:
Lambert, C 2008, 'Variability and Uncertainty on Rock Mass Strength Via a Synthetic Rock Mass Approach', in Y Potvin, J Carter, A Dyskin & R Jeffrey (eds), SHIRMS 2008: Proceedings of the First Southern Hemisphere International Rock Mechanics Symposium, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 355-366,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

By combining the benefits of the particle flow code PFC3D to represent the rock and the benefits of a geostatistical tool to generate a full three-dimensional (3D) discrete fracture network (DFN) of the domain, it is possible to create, using typical field data, a synthetic rock mass (SRM) that is representative of the geotechnical domain. The SRM is then submitted to a series of numerical tests (triaxial tests, UCS tests) using PFC3D to assess the constitutive behaviour of the rock mass. The model exhibits a wide range of typical behaviours of a real rock mass, such as anisotropy and a scale effect. To better understand the influence of the structural pattern of a rock mass on its strength, an extensive series of simulations has been carried out varying some of the key parameters of the DFN (joint persistence, joint spatial density or joint friction angle). The results of the simulations are analysed and discussed. An attempt to characterise the rock mass strength variability is proposed.

Hsu, S-C., and Nelson, P. (2006) Material spatial variability and slope stability for weak rock masses. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 132(2), pp. 183–193.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2006) PFC3D (Particle Flow Code in 3 Dimensions). Version 3.1.
Jefferies, M., Lorig, L. and Alvarez, C. (2008) Influence of Rock-Strength Spatial Variability on Slope Stability. Proceedings First International FLAC/DEM Symposium on Numerical Modeling, Minneapolis, US.
Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (2000) JoinStats, Version 1.15.
Lyman, G.J. (2003) Rock fracture mean trace length estimation and confidence interval calculation using maximum likelihood methods. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 40(6), pp. 825–832.
Mas Ivars, D., Pierce, M., DeGagnné, D. and Darcel, C. (2008) Anisotropy and scale dependency in jointed rock-mass strength – A Synthetic Rock Mass Study. Proceedings First International FLAC/DEM Symposium on Numerical Modeling, Minneapolis, USA.
Nouguier-Lehon, C., Cambou, B. and Vincens, E. (2003) Influence of particle shape and angularity on the behaviour of granular materials: a numerical analysis. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 27(14), pp. 1207–1226.
Pierce, M., Cundall, P., Potyondy, D. and Mas Ivars, D. (2007) A Synthetic Rock Mass Model for Jointed Rock. In Rock Mechanics: Meeting Society's Challenges and Demands, 1st Canada–US Rock Mechanics Symposium, Vancouver, pp. 341–349.
Potyondy, D.O. and Cundall, P.A. (2004) A Bonded-Particle Model for Rock. International Journal of Rock Rock Mechanics and Mining Science, 41(8), pp. 1329–1364.
Ramamurthy, T. (1993) Strength and modulus responses of anisotropic Rocks. In Comprehensive rock engineering, Vol. 1, Pergamon Press, pp. 313–29.
Ramamurthy, T. (2001) Shear strength response of some geological materials in triaxial compression. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Science, 38(5), pp. 683–697.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to