- Shear strength criteria for rock, rock joints, rockfill and rock masses: Problems and some solutions
- N. Barton
- Book Title / Journal: Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
- Year: 2013 , Volume: 5
- Rock Mechanics
- Keywords: rock masses ; critical state ; rock joints ; shear strength
- Although many intact rock types can be very strong, a critical confining pressure can eventually be reached in triaxial testing, such that the Mohr shear strength envelope becomes horizontal. This critical state has recently been better defined, and correct curvature or correct deviation from linear Mohr–Coulomb (M-C) has finally been found. Standard shear testing procedures for rock joints, using multiple testing of the same sample, in case of insufficient samples, can be shown to exaggerate apparent cohesion. Even rough joints do not have any cohesion, but instead have very high friction angles at low stress, due to strong dilation. Rock masses, implying problems of large-scale interaction with engineering structures, may have both cohesive and frictional strength components. However, it is not correct to add these, following linear M-C or nonlinear Hoek–Brown (H-B) standard routines. Cohesion is broken at small strain, while friction is mobilized at larger strain and remains to the end of the shear deformation. The criterion ‘c then σntan φ’ should replace ‘c plus σntan φ’ for improved fit to reality. Transformation of principal stresses to a shear plane seems to ignore mobilized dilation, and caused great experimental difficulties until understood. There seems to be plenty of room for continued research, so that errors of judgement of the last 50 years can be corrected.