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Key Principles in Rock Mechanics

Lecture 1: Introduction

John A Hudson
Dept. Earth Science and Engineering
Imperial College, London, UK

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WELCOME
The content of this Short Course of 14 lectures
introduces some of the key principles of rock
mechanics.
If you are relatively new to the subject, these principles
will provide you with the knowledge to be more
confident in the office, in the laboratory and in the field
when dealing with rock mechanics and rock
engineering.
If you already have some rock mechanics knowledge,
these principles will help you to structure your
knowledge.
The principles here do not tell you everything, but they
are a good start to a subject that I have been involved
with for many years. 2
These lectures are coming to you from the
Department of Earth Science and Engineering,
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine,
London, UK
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Imperial College,
just south of Hyde Park
in London, UK

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I want to provide you with a framework of pictures,
explanations and experiences, and hence to enhance
your memory.

For this reason, the lectures concentrate on images and


interpretation, rather than detailed uses of mathematics
and stereographic projection…

(…although some maths and stereographic images


have to be included for the explanations…)

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The natural material we are studying: fractured rocks 6
What happens if we try to tunnel through this?
Structural geology is an important subject to help rock mechanics.
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STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY

PAST PRESENT FUTURE


Interpretation of natural Prediction of natural
processes that have geohazards, such as
y
created the rock volcanic eruptions,
structures we see today earthquakes, landslips

Interpretation of past Prediction of the rock


engineering practice: mass response to
past successes, and engineering
past failures perturbations

ROCK ENGINEERING

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Structural geology + rock fractures + rock mechanics

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Rock mechanics and rock engineering:
The wide variety of types of engineering projects

Foundations Slopes Tunnels and caverns

Mine stopes Geothermal energy Waste disposal


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The generic
rock mechanics/
rock engineering
problem
F3 Boundary
F2
conditions
F1
Fn
Intact rock Excavation

Water flow

Fractures

The sketch above


represents rock mechanics
and rock engineering.
Keep it in mind always. 11
Loch Lomond, Scotland: Is this slope stable? How would we know? 12
Porteau Bluff on
Highway 99
North of Vancouver,
Canada

What are the structural geology influences


on the stability of this slope? What is the evidence of water flow?13
In India, on the
way to China

How do we deal with such


rock slope instabilities?

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How stable do these slopes need to be?
Open Pit Mine, Kalgoorlie, Australia 15
Do we know enough about the rock conditions to ensure stability?
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Natural rock slope above a village, Italy 17
Excavation of tunnels

What is the effect of


tunnelling on the
surrounding rock?

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Effect of geological
conditions on
engineering projects

From
“Geological Engineering” by
Gonzalez de Vallejo & Ferrer

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And more
complex
coupled
interactions

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From “Geological Engineering” by Gonzalez de Vallejo & Ferrer 21
End of Introductory Lecture 1

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