Micromechanical Analysis of Excavation Damaged Zone in Anisotropic Rock Mass


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Rock is a heterogeneous and anisotropic compound material, containing many shear surfaces, cracks, weak surfaces and faults. Damage and failure in a rock mass can occur through sliding along persistent discontinuities, or fractures. A new micromechanical approach to modeling the mechanical behavior of excavation damaged or disturbed zone (EDZ) of anisotropic rock is presented based on knowledge of the inhomogeneity of rock. In this numerical model, damage is analyzed as a direct consequence of microcracks growth. A study of the effect of elastic and failure anisotropy plus inhomogeneity on the underground excavations reveals that the modes of failure can be significantly influenced by the rock structure on the small and large scales. Fractures that develop progressively around underground excavations can be simulated using a numerical code called RFPA (Realistic Failure Process Analysis). This code incorporates the microscopic inhomogeneity in Young’s modulus and strength characteristic of rock. In the numerical models of a rock mass, values of Young’s modulus and rock strength are realized according to a Weibull distribution in which the distribution parameters represent the level of inhomogeneity of the medium. Another notable feature of this code is that no a priori assumptions need to be made about where and how fracture and failure will occur – cracking can occur spontaneously and can exhibit a variety of mechanisms when certain local stress conditions are met. These unique features have made RFPA capable of simulating the whole fracturing process of initiation, propagation and coalescence of fractures around excavations under a variety of loading conditions. The results of the simulations show that the code can be used not only to produce fracturing patterns similar to those reported in previous studies, but also to predict fracturing patterns under a variety of loading conditions. The numerical model was able to reproduce the associated complex stress patterns and the microseismic emission distribution for a variety of rock structural conditions.



Key Engineering Materials (Volumes 324-325)

Edited by:

M.H. Aliabadi, Qingfen Li, Li Li and F.-G. Buchholz




S. H. Wang et al., "Micromechanical Analysis of Excavation Damaged Zone in Anisotropic Rock Mass", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 324-325, pp. 81-84, 2006

Online since:

November 2006