Physical modeling of soil-infilled discontinuities
Soil-infilled discontinuities adversely affect the overall strength of rock mass because, the soft infill material, especially when saturated, drastically reduces the shear strength of the rock joint. Due to all the uncertainties arising from sample heterogeneity and scale effects, physical modeling of rock joints becomes an essential approach for understanding all the different factors affecting the geomechanical behaviour in the field. In this paper, several modeling techniques adopted at the University of Wollongong are discussed. These techniques focused on isolating the different factors affecting the behaviour of soil-infilled discontinuities. Some of the resulting semi-empirical models that were developed to describe the effect of the soft-infill on the joint shear strength are also presented.