Analytical approach for stability analysis of rock wedges with soil-infilled joints formed in a tunnel roof
The use of an equivalent continuum for a rock mass is not always suitable for situations where the failure is structurally controlled by discontinuities as in the case of wedges in the tunnel roof. In these instances, discontinuum approaches are usually preferred. Rock joints that are fi lled with soft infi ll are likely to be the weakest planes in a rock mass, having a dominant infl uence on its overall shear behaviour. In this case, the joint material model adopted for the discontinuities should be able to describe important mechanisms, such as asperity sliding and shearing, post-peak behaviour, asperity deformation, and the effect of the soft infi lling. The latest version of a soil-infi lled joint model is discussed here. It describes more comprehensively than previous models the occurrence of dilation and compression with lateral displacements, and also represents the hardening mechanism related to asperity interference as observed in the laboratory that cannot be readily captured by the existing joint models. An analytical approach for the analysis of rock wedges structurally controlled by soilinfi lled joints is presented. The analytical approach presented in this paper for assessment of symmetric rock wedges in the roof of a tunnel demonstrates, that the peak shear strength of the joint may not be fully mobilised before detachment of the wedge. The analysis verifi ed that an overestimation of the factor of safety may be observed when an elastic-perfectly-plastic joint model was assumed, whereas the computed maximum factor of safety was considerably less when adopting an appropriate soil-infi lled joint model.