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Determination' of rock mass modulus using the plate loading method

~" . .
Utilisation d'un essai de plaque pour la determination de la deformaolllte d'une roche
/ r . Bestimmung der Verformungsmoduls von Gebirge mittels Lastplattenversuche
J . T. GEORGE, R. E. FINLEY. & M. RIGGINS, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N. Mex. , USA
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ABSTRACT: A suite of plate loading tests has recently been conducted by Sandia National Laboratories at the Exploratory Studies
Facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fielding of these in situ tests as well as other approaches undertaken for the determination of
rock mass modulus are described. The various methodologies are evaluated and their data compared. Calculation by existing empirical
methods and numerical modeling are compared to each other as well as to field data.
, 1
RESUM~: Une succession de tests de plaques sous haute pression a ete conduite recemment par les Sandia National Laboratories a
leur site des etudes exploratoires a Yucca Mountain, au Nevada. Cet article decrit les methodes de recherches sur le terrain ainsi que
celles dues a d'autres approches utili sees pour determiner le module des masses rocheuses. Les differentes methodologies sont
evaluees et leurs donnees comparees, Les calculsqui resultent de differentes methodes empiriques et d'analyses numeriques sont
compares les uns aux autres ainsi qu'aux donnees rassemblees sur le terrain:' I
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ZUSAMMENFASSUNG: Eine Versuchsreihe von "plate loading" Tests wurde kUrzlich von den Sandia National Labs in der
Exploratory Studies Facility am Yucca Mountain in Nevada durchgefilhrt. Beschrieben wird der Verlauf dieser in situ Tests als auch
anderer Ansatze zur Bestimmung des Gesteinsmassenmoduls,' Die verschiedenen Methoden werden evaluiert und ihre Daten
verglichen, Berechnung durch existierende empirische Methoden und numerische Modellierung werden sowohl miteinander als auch
mit den experimentellen Daten verglichen. . .
The welded tuffs of Yucca Mountain, Nevada are being
considered by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) as
potential host media for the storage of high level waste (HLW).'
As part of the site characterization efforts for the Yucca
Mountain Project (YMP), a mechanically excavated Exploratory
Studies Facility (ESP) was completed in 1997. A Thermal
Testing Facility (TTF), subsequently constructed off the main
drift of the ESF, included the Single Heater Test (SHT) block
and the Drift Scale Test (DST). The DST is being constructed in
a 50-m long, 5-m diameter Heated Drift (HD). To determine
potential changes in the rock mass modulus resulting from
thermally induced closure of the fractures, a plate loading niche
was constructed near the DST such that one' side of the niche
would be near ambient temperature and the other side was heated
to ~100C (Fig: 1).' Determination - of rock mass l modulus, a
parameter of significance to the Yucca Mountain geomechanics
program, is calculated using data gathered from the Plate
Loading Test (pLT). It will be used in numerical analysis of drift
stability, ground support interactions, and drift and repository
behavior. Rock mass modulus may also be used in the coupling
of the various thermal-mechanical-hydrological-chemical (T-M-
H-C) models used for the proposed repository. _ '! "
The PLT, conducted as part of the long-term DST, consisted
of multiple elements, each unique though closely related. The
elements included rock mass quality mapping, Goodman jack
tests, and pre- and post-test elastic numerical predictions of the
stresses and displacements within the rock mass using the actual
flat jack pressurization cycles.
'.,'The successful conduct of these comparati ve testing
techniques has allowed Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to
undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the mechanical
behavior of the Yucca Mountain welded tuffs, including
determination of rock mass modulus, as well as providing data
against which analytical models can be compared.-
1.1 . Backgr ound' . '.
SNL's experience u;ing
1arge-scale (up to 0.80 m
) flat jacks
dates back to the mid-1980s, during which time jack fabrication,
instrumentation, and monitoring techniques were developed and
refined through pressurized slot testing conducted within the G-
Tunnel facility on the Nevada Test Site (Zimmerman & Finley
1987, Hansen et al. 1990). In addition," pressurized slot
experiments using the large-scale flat jacks for determination of
rock mass modulus were conducted by SNL on behalf of the
United States Defense Nuclear Agency in 1994 at the Fort Knox
Military Reservation (Finley 1994).
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TOIl Region
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Cenl_ CS 2&+27
Figure 1. Planviewof theESF Thermal Test Facility.' t' " Ii. ,('. ' -
consistent enough to suggest that the rock mass .in the region
surrounding thePLT Nichecouldbereasonably described by the
~rock massquality estimates fromtheHD., r. ,-...1
The United States Bureau of Reclarnation performed full
periphery fracture mapping along the complete length of the
Connecting Drift and the HD. This represents the HD-side of
each of the blocks of rock that were loaded by the PLT. In
'contrast, SNL performed line surveys 'for rock mass quality of
the left rib of the HD and the Connecting Drift. Each of these
surveys provided values of rock mass quality parameters Q and
RMR, which can beused to estimate the rock mass deformation
modulus. What is most striking incomparing thesurveys arethe
differences in estimated rock mass quality values for the same
sections of rock with RMR values varying from52 to 79 and Q
values varying from 2.1to 11, although the reader should be
cautioned that the Q systemis logarithmic and such differences
canbeexpected fromoneregion tothenext.
1.2 Modulus Determination Approa,ches.. .! Also, the rock mass quality survey was performed as a line
Rock mass or deformation modulus can beestimated viaseveral survey, and the fracture mapping was performed as a full
methods that include both direct in situ testing and empirical periphery survey. Therefore, features apparent toone may not be
techniques that incorporate properties of therock mass including seenintheother. ' ; -
fracture and intact rock characteristics (e.g., Goodman et al. A summary of these surveys for each side of the PLT Niche
1968, Hustrulid & Schrauf 1979, Rocha 1964, Pratt et al., 1977" can be given by averaging the rock mass quality estimates for
Brown 1981, .Zimmerman & Finley 1987, Hansen et al. 1990, sections describing the hot and ambient sides of the rock
Goodman 1980). These techniques include large-scale in situ surrounding the PLT Niche. Such a simplified ,approach yields.
tests such as plate loading tests, rock mass block tests, ,I theaverageRMR values of 64.7 and66.8, and average Q values
pressurized gallery tests, flat jack tests in slots, borehole tests of 4.03and7.7for thehot andambient sides respectively. (1 " .
such as the borehole jack (Goodman jack) and dilatometers, The rock mass quality values can be related to estimates of
geophysical techniques such as cross-hole ultrasonics, and, the deformation modulus for each, side of the P~T using
estimations from rock quality field surveys. They 'also include . empirical equations developed by other. researchers: As a
analysis techniques to better interpret the in situ data fromthe . !'preliminary estimate, the' empirical equations developed by
Goodman jack and plate loading tests (e.g., Heuze & Amadei 1Barton (1983) Serafim& Periera (1983) and Bieniawski (1978)
1985, Boyle 1992). Additionally, alimited number of laboratory i' areused below to estimate the rock mass deformation modulus
rock joint compliance studies have been conducted by SNL for oneachsideof thePLT.
theYMP. Table 1lists each empirical method and the predicted rock
Each of these techniques has merit but also inherent massdeformation modulus for each sideof thePLT Niche. "
limitations. Although the Goodman jac~tests proved relatively
easy' to conduct, the physical size limitations of the equipment
could not load an adequately large volume of rock, resulting in
local heterogeneities strongly influencing theresults. ",,, .
Large-scale techniques such asblock tests, slot pressurization
tests, pillar tests, and radial jacking tests offered scale
advantages by testing at a more reasonable rock mass scale.
However, the test preparation, geometry, and conduct' proved
significantly more complex and costly than plate loading tests
andwerenot considered for theYMP thermal testingprogram.
The empirical techniques for estimating rock mass
deformation (Barton 1983, Nicholson & Bieniawski 1986,
Serafim& Peri era 1983, Bieniawski 1978) havebeen somewhat
beneficial. However, because they tend to rely on analytical
combinations of related parameters, these methods would
necessarily have to be verified through direct measurements,
such as plate loading, before they could be universally applied
throughoufthe YMP facility.
Because the aforementioned tests, techniques, and studies
have been presented elsewhere, and a detailed discussion of all
techniques is beyond the scope of this paper, only specific
methods used in the conduct of the PLT experiment will be
present~ for c?mpleteness.
Having previously identified anddescribed plateloading tests '
in the SiteCharacterization Plan (US D6E 1988) as theprimary
deformation modulus test to be conducted in. the YMP
underground testing facility, SNL' championed Incorporation of
thePLT into theDST duringexcavation in1997. Theenvisioned
PLTs wereto bebased on standard testing techniques consisting
of the construction of a reaction frame and the application of
static horizontal loads on the surface of the rock near the DST
excavation (Brown 1981, ASTM 1980, ASTM 1994a, ASTM
1994b). DST excavation geometry allowed for the design of a
plate loading niche whereby the application of static horizontal
loads could be applied to both ambient and thermally perturbed
rock masses concurrently. Pressures in the loading systemand
displacements in the surrounding rock masses would then be
measured andrecorded onareal-timebasis.
1.3 Rock Mass Quality Estimates
Rock mass quality estimates of theHD drift wall wereperformed
shortly after construction of the HD. These estimates included
both theNGI "Q" systemandtheCSIRO "RMR" system.
Two separate sets of estimates were performed, one by the
United States Bureau of Reclamation and one by SNL. These
separate surveys targeted different parts of the HD, although no
rock mass quality estimates have yet been performed within the
PLT Niche itself' or on core retrieved from the PLT
instrumentation boreholes. Nevertheless, -the reported data are
Table 1. Comparative empirical methods.
Parameter - Ambient Side
Average Rock Mass Q=7.7 (RMR=66.8)
Quality .: " "
E (GPa) from Bieniawski, 33.6 GPa
E (GPa) from Serafim & 26.3 GPa
Periera, 1983
E (GPa) from Barton, 1983 22.2 GPa
- E =Modulus of Elasticity
Heated Side
Q--4.03 (RMR=64.7)-
23.3 GPa '.
IS.1 GPa
. ljf,~, j r ;
These, empirical results suggest that the heated side of the
PLT Niche should have a slightly lower rock mass modulus,
although the range of estimates differs by as much as about a
factor of two, with the Barton (1983) method providing the
lowest estimates for both sidesof thePLT Niche: ) ",I
1.4 Goodman jack Tests r.r I . i r 1 I",. J ,_
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Goodmanjack tests wereperformed at asingle depth in each of
the PLT instrumentation _boreholes prior to, installation of the
PLT multiple point borehole extensometer (MPBX)
instrumentation. Thesetests wereconducted six months into the
DST heating phase, on 12May 1998, at a depth of 1.2mfrom
thecollar of borehole#187 and2.6mfromthecollar of borehole
#188. Borehole #187 is drilled approximately 3minto the right
rib on theambient SIdeof thePLT,.and borehole #188 is drilled
approximately 3minto the left rib on the hot side of the P~T.
The rock in pte vicinity of the PLT created difficulty in setting
thejack; therefore only thesingle location in each borehole was,
tested. For YMP applications, thejack is typically pressurized to
34.5 MPa (5,000 psi) to 55.2 MPa (8,000 psi) and back to zero'
with linear variable displacement transformer (LVDT) readings,
recorded duringbothloading andunloading.
, ,.,',
The results of the Goodman jack testing in the PLT
instrumentation boreholes areacalculated rock mass modulus of
3.31GPa for. the ambient side of the PLT Niche at a depth of
1.2m in borehole #187 and 5.9GPa at a depth of 2.66m in
borehole#188. These values suggest that thehot sidemodulus is
about twice as high as the ambient side modulus. These
Goodmanjack estimates for rock mass deformation modulus are
consistent in magnitude with values obtained from the SHT
block. It is important to note that the Goodmanjack loads the
rock along anorientation that is perpendicular to thedirection of
loading for thePLT.
1.5 Pre-Test Analysis
Pre-test analyses of theexpected rock response as aresult of the
PLT were performed. Two methods of analysis were used. The
first was a hand calculation involving a plate load source on a
semi-infinite elastic half-space using the equation for a square
loaded area on a homogeneous, elastic half-space. A single
elastic modulus of 5GPa wasused in thesolution to predict the
expected displacements of thePLT-loaded rock surfaces andthe
left rib of theDataCollection System(DCS) alcove. The second
method involved a finite element elastic solution. Two elastic
moduli were used in the analyses, 5GPa and 36.8 GPa. These
two moduli represent what were considered the likely bounds
between a relatively fractured yielding rock (5 GPa) and an
intact rock (36.8GPa). Thetwo moduli giveessentially thesame
stress distribution but yield significantly different displacement
The hand solution using the 'equations mentioned above
shows theplatedisplacement to be on theorder of 6mmwith a
uniformsurfaceloadontheplates of 47MPa. At theDCSalcove
wall, thedisplacement is on theorder of 1mm, and thenormal
stress adjacent totheDCS alcovewall isontheorder of 1MPa.
Stress and displacement using the finite element code show
that the normal stress fields are identical for the two elastic
moduli. This is to be expected, as the elastic stresses are
independent of modulus. The second itemof interest is that the
normal displacement at the DeS alcove wall is on the order of
2mmfor the 5GPa case and negligible 0.1 mm) for the 36.8
GPacase. A thirditemof interest isthat theplatedisplacement is
on theorder of 9 mmfor the 5GPa case and about 1.2mmfor
Based on theaboveelastic analysis of thePLT, theexpected
displacements at theHD andDCS walls would beexpectedtobe
bounded by the 1.2 mm and 9 mm displacement predictions.
Similarly, the normal and transverse stresses adjacent to the
sameregions should beontheorder of 1to 2MPa. Theindirect
tensile strength of therock has been reported to bebetween4 to
16MPa (Hardin, in press). The results fromthe PLT are quite
linear for therangeof flatjack pressures achieved, This suggests
that linear elastic analyses are adequate for predicting the rock
mass response for thePLT, !
The PLT was designed based on the standard test described in
the International Society for Rock Mechanics (lSRM) testing
manual (Brown 1981), ASTM standards D4394 and D4395
(1994a, b), rock mechanics testing literature, and previous
testing experience with high-pressure flat jacks in G-Tunnel
(Zimmerman & Finley 1987, Hansenet al. 1990).
,ThePLT conducted aspart of theDST differs somewhat from
the recommended standard techniques, although the differences
arenot considered significant andarejustified based onthePLT
configuration .within the context of the larger DST. The
differences arenoted throughout this paper..
The, experiment niche was mined using drill, and blast
techniques in the construction phase of the DST during 1997.
The PLT was designed to mechanically load the rock in a
horizontal orientation using large square-shaped flat jacks that
press against both ribs of the PLT Niche with a steel reaction
frameconstructed betweentheribs. This flatjack design isbased
on flat jacks originally fabricated and tested by SNL for G-
Tunnel rock mass strength and deformability testing (Hansen et
al. 1990). The G-Tunnel tests achieved flat jack pressures in
excess of 30 MPa (4400 psi), and the surrounding rock failed
duringthetest without failureof theflatjack.
Because theflat jacks produce forces of roughly 454,000 kg
(1,000,000 lb) per each 6.9 MPa (1000 psi) increment in
pressure, it was not possible to pressure-test thejacks prior to
conducting the PLT. The jacks were radiographed and helium
leak-testedby thefabricator prior toinstallation inthePLT.
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2.1 Reaction Frame Design
Design of the PLT reaction frame was predicated on materials
having compressive strengths in excess of 55.2 MPa (8,000 psi:
maximumjack pressuredesign) andhavin~aminimumModulus
of Elasticity (E) of 30 GPa (4.3512 x 10 psi). In addition, the
excavated rock surfaces of the PLT Niche were required to be
preparedinaccordance withASTM 4394-84 (1994a). Numerous
methods, including hydraulic jacks and pipe columns, cast-in-
place high-strength concrete, and structural steel (lor H beam
construction) were considered for the' reaction frame. ( The
installed configuration consisted of 0.91-m(36-in.) square, mild
steel plates stacked horizontally across the diameter of thePLT
Nichenear thespringline(Fig. 2).
This reaction frame design allowed the flat jacks to provide
relatively uniformpressure to asingle (each side) 2.5-cm(l-in.)
thick bearing platen. Each platen bears on a nominal 1O.1-cm
(4-in.) thick grout pad cast directly on the hand-smoothed rock
surfaces to provide a uniform bearing surface for PLT testing.
Availability of materials, ease of installation, and construction
scheduletimeconstraints alsoinfluenced thisdesignchoice. This
configuration provided not only, simplicity, but also the
necessary mass upon which the anticipated large loading forces
could react. Although the joints between the stacked plates
allowed some compliance' during low-pressure cycles, the
compliance was reduced by adding additional aluminum shims-
duringinitial depressurization cycles prior toactually conducting
thePLT. Upon completion of this low-pressure pre-loading, the
reaction frame was considered stiff enough to allow general
loadingofthe PLT. , .
2.2 Pressurization System \ \
The heart of the pressurization systemused for the PLT was a
pneumatically driven 103MPa (15,000 psi) maximumdischarge
pressure pump, which featured a large air piston joined to a
smaller diameter plunger. The pressure ratio was the difference
of thesetwo areas andwasthemethod of determining maximum
output pressure. The pump was designed to stop automatically
Flat J ack
Bleed Port
" ,.
SNL Flat J ack
. j'.
Borehole ',88
, MPBX1.
(elevated temperatura)'"
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1,'; 'r I
Plate loading Reaction Frame, '_'
Figure 2. View of reaction frame and flat jack setup used in !he PLT.
when the output pressure forces and the air drive forces were
equal. The pump would then restart with a slight drop in the
outlet pressure or an increase in the air drive pressure. The
pressurization fluid used was potable water. Water was used
instead of the standard fluid (hydraulic oil) so as to limit the
potential impact of systemleaks onthesurrounding rock. '
The PLT instrumentation included displacement sensors in the
PLT boreholes and on the data collection system(DCS) side of
the PLT pillar between the PLT Niche and the DeS alcove:
Pressure transducers were used to monitor the flat jack system
pressure. Borehole anchor locations were selected in competent
rock ineachborehole based onborehole video logs of each hole.
The resulting' displacement measurements along with the
measured flatjack pressures wereused tocalculatetherock mass
deformation modulus. i' ,I .
. Another set of displacement measurements across the. OCS
alcovewasintended to monitor thestability of thewest ribof the
PLT Niche pillar as the flat jacks were pressurized.r'Ihis was
considered prudent, astheoperational rangeof theflatjacks was
expected to exceed 30 MPa(4400 psi) which wouldimpart more
than 1,816,000kg (4,000,000 lb) of forceon therock. No cross-
drift (PLT Niche) displacements were made as suggested by the
ISRM testing manual (Brown 1981). . ~'l
An additional test setup deviation fromthe ISRM-suggested
method was in the depth and number of the MPBX anchors
relative to the size of the loaded area. (Although the ISRM
suggests that thebottomanchor beplaced approximately six flat
jack (loading platen) diameters away from the loaded surface
only, the close proximity to the. nearest direct I heat source
allowed borehole depths of only 3 m. BecauseI the borehole
depths were shortened fromthe recommended ISRM depth, the
number of anchors wasalso reduced. . ~.! I' 1 , I
The final deviation fromthe ISRM-suggested method was in
theloading itself. The ISRM method suggests theloadbecycled
in multiple increments, with each incremental cycle duration of
(up to) three daysBecause of safety issues related to extremely
high loading pressures, it was decided to conduct eachtest inthe
most expedient manner possible. Maximumpressure increments
wereestablished at 9.5MPa (1400psi) withcycledurations held
totheminimumtimerequired for displacement stabilization.
3.1 PLT Data Acquisition System
The data acquisition system for the PLT consisted of a 16-bit
analog to digital (AID) converter with I in 12
installed in a laptop computer with aPCMCIA port. The virtual
data acquisition instrument "PL DATA LOGGER" was created
using LabView graphical programming language. ('J
;',"": ':J ~~ I .'~~
3.2 Plate Loading Tests through June 1998
Two plate loading tests were conducted on 28 May 1998 and
9June 1998using thedouble acting flat jack and reaction frame
systempreviously described. Both tests terminated as aresult of
flat jack failures resulting in a loss of pressure. For the 28 May
1998 test, the maximum flat jack pressure achieved was about
8.8 MPa (1280 psi). The 9 June 1998test achieved maximum
flatjack pressureof about 16.5MPa(2400psi) prior tofailureof
oneof theflatjacks. ~ .
The PLT results are presented in terms of pressure/dis-
placement plots in Figures 3 and 4. :It must be noted that the
pressure data required for such plots and subsequent analyses is
thepressure directly applied to.therock mass andnot necessarily
thepressure measured intheflatjacks or loading systems. Inthe
caseof theYMP PLT, thebearing pressureis estimated fromthe
measured flat jack pressure, theestimated dimensions of theflat
jack at that pressure, andthebearing platendimensions. Because
"-"l"-"-'-~- -._'j -:_.' ........._-
-... t-.. .....- .... :-.. "7~ ,,
. . . . . . .1. . . . . . .
0.0 0,1 0.2 0.3 0,4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.9 1.0
Displacement (mn)
Figure 3.' Bearing pressure versus displacement for ambient side.
. . f.
0.1 ,0.4 0.5 I 0.6 0.7 1.0
" Displacement (nvn)
Figure 4. Bearing pressure versus displacement for heated side.
t ",Il" . . I
the flat jacks are flexible, they deform under their internal
pressure, andasthey extend fromtheinitial thickness of 9.5 mm
the effective loading area decreases. The assumed decrease in
loading areawascalculated asfollows: . r',
'f . I . ' I )< ~, ,~ f.
Bearing Pressure = Flat Jack Pressure x (78cmi/(91.4 cm)~.
= 0.728x Flat Jack Pressure
) ,
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. . .
t \
Post-test analysis involved modeling the rock mass with an
elastic 3D finite element vmecbanlcs code (JAC3D). The
equilibrium stress state was used as the initial condition for the
PLT analysis.'Two loading histories (steps) were modeled. The
first wasthetest performedon 28May 1998with aplatebearing
pressure of 6.4 MPa. The second was the test performed on 9
June 1998withaplatebearing pressureof 11.9MPa.'. t' ,
The rock mass moduli on the ambient and heated side of the
PLT Niche were taken to be 12GPa and 30 GPa, respectively.
Thenormal displacements at each MPBX anchor location for the
two bearing pressures were calculated and compared to the
observed displacements. Theresults aregiveninTables 2and3.
. Tables 2 and 3 show' that the predicted and observed
displacements compared favorably. For each case (except one)
the elastic r solution slightly', underpredicts the observed
displacements with an average difference on the order of 18%.
This difference may be attributed to displacements associated
with initial fractureclosing and plate seating prior to mobilizing
thestrengthof therock mass, Notealso fromTables 2and 3that
both the measured and predicted displacements on the ambient
side of the drift are approximately. 2.5 times greater than the
displacements ontheheated sideof thedrift.:' "/.1"
J > This can be attributed, inpart, to theclosing of fractures as a
result of heatingandthusahigher mobilized rock strength onthe
heated side of the PLT Niche. In addition, factors such as-rock'
Table2. Nonna!displacementsonambientsideof PLT Niche.
Anchor Depth (m)
Observed JAC3D
(mm) (mm)
0.41 0.30
0.48 0.37
0.51 0.44
Observed JAC3D
(rnrn) (mm)
0.67 0.56
0.84 0.68
0.95 0.82
Table3. Normal displacements onheatedsideof PLT Niche.
Anchor Depth (m)
Observed Calculated
(mm) (mm)
0.17 0.12
0.22 0.16
0.19 0.19
Observed Calculated
(mm) (mm)
0.29 0.23
0.36 0.29
0.37 0.35
inhomogeneity, drift geometry, and mining methods could also
have contributed to the difference in the rock mass strength.
This paper presents results from a unique PL T conducted to
support coupled thermal-mechanical evaluations of the DST for
the YMP. The uniqueness lies in the measurement of rock mass
stiffness for both ambient temperature and thermally perturbed
rock masses for the double acting system. This paper presents
only the ambient measurements prior to significant heating of the
rock mass, although the test is planned to be conducted
periodically as the rock mass heats from the DST.
A number of techniques were used to estimate rock mass
modulus and are discussed in this paper. These techniques
include estimation of rock mass modulus from rock mass quality
surveys, estimation from borehole jacking tests, and estimation
using the plate loading technique. The results from the PLTyield
rock mass moduli of 11.4 GPa and 29.5 GPa for the ambient and
heated sides of the PLT Niche, respectively. Conversely, the
borehole jacking test results yield rock mass modulus estimates
from 3.3 GPa to 5.9 GPa for the same rock mass. The rock mass
quality estimates yield rock mass modulus estimates within the
range determined from the PLT; however, the values determined
from surveys of the ambient versus heated sides of the niche do
not show the 2: 1rock mass modulus ratio observed in the PLT.
Results of numerical modeling of the PL T as well as thermal
output from the DST suggest that the PL T rock mass modulus
values better represent the actual response of the rock mass
surrounding the PLT Niche than the other techniques discussed.
The PLT results suggest that the heated side of the PLT Niche,
even early in the DST heating phase, has caused the fractures in
the vicinity of the niche to close, thus presenting a stiffer rock
mass for the PLT. Alternatively, the rock mass quality estimates
from the rock mass surrounding the PLT Niche may be more
heterogeneous than previously thought, with the heated side
actually having a higher rock mass quality than initially
estimated. Additional evaluation of the rock mass quality will
determine the extent to which this applies to the PLT results.
The PL T results provide important information regarding the
rock mass mechanical properties for the Yucca Mountain Project
design and performance assessment programs. The estimations
regarding the coupling of the thermal and mechanical response
are critical inputs for estimates of rock mass stability, rock
mass/ground support interactions, and the coupling of the
thermal-mechanical and thermal-hydrologic processes necessary
for performance assessments. Future PLT testing can further aid
in understanding the complex T-M-H coupling necessary for
determining the overall performance of the proposed Yucca
Mountain repository.
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ASlM (AmericanSocietyfor TestingandMaterials). 1994a. StandardTest
Methodfor Determiningthe In Situ Modulusof Deformationof Rock
MassUsingtheRigidPlateLoadingMethod(R 1994),ASlM 04394-84.
Philadelphia,PA: ASlM. TICCatalogNumber:238037.
ASlM (AmericanSocietyfor Testingand Materials). 1994b. StandardTest
Methodfor Detenniningthe In Situ Modulusof Deformationof Rock
MassUsingtheFlexiblePlateLoadingMethod(R 1994),ASlM 04395-
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