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Structural Rock Mechanics

Published: August 23, 2021 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Structural Rock Mechanics Mean?

Structural rock mechanics, in the context of rock mechanics, deals with the stability of engineering structures supported in rock. Rock mechanics helps engineers to understand how rocks will react when subjected to construction activities such as tunneling and building. It assesses the rocks’ bearing capacity and how the structures will affect the rock at different depths. It also determines the shear strength of the rock, response of the rock to loading and the failure mechanism of rocks.

Trenchlesspedia Explains Structural Rock Mechanics

Rock has certain physical and structural characteristics that distinguish it from other materials, such as a high variance in compressive and tensile strengths, the tendency of the structural property of rock to weather with time, and a rapid increase in strength with an increase in confining pressure. Moisture content and temperature can affect the strength of the rock.

In structural rock mechanics, the moisture content is an important factor to consider, as a normally stable structure can become unstable in wet conditions. Water under pressure can also contribute to the stability of a rock structure. This pressure can reduce the compressive stress acting across a fissure and fracture plane, reducing the frictional resistance that holds the structure of the rock together.

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