A shear-displacement criterion for soil-infilled rock discontinuities



Publication Details

Indraratna, B, Oliveira, DAF and Brown, ET, A shear-displacement criterion for soil-infilled rock discontinuities, Geotechnique: international journal of soil mechanics, 60(8), 2010, 623-633.


An infilled rock joint is likely to be the weakest plane in a rock mass. The most pronounced effect of the presence of infill material is the reduction in friction of the discontinuity boundaries (i.e. rock to rock contact of the joint walls). The thicker the infill, the smaller the shear strength of the rock joint. Once the infill reaches a critical thickness, the joint walls (rock) play no significant role in the overall shear strength. Several models have been proposed to predict the peak shear strength of infilled joints under both constant normal load and constant normal stiffness boundary conditions, taking into account the ratio of infill thickness (t ) to the height of the joint wall asperity (a), that is the t/a ratio. Models based on the constant normal stiffness condition provide a much more accurate representation of the infilled joint behaviour in the field, but only a limited number of studies have focused on the more realistic constant normal stiffness stress–strain behaviour. This paper presents a critical review of some of the earlier studies and the most recent advancement of a shear-strength model developed at University of Wollongong, Australia, supplemented with laboratory data for model validation. The effect of different factors on the shear behaviour such as the t/a ratio, infill friction angle, joint wall roughness

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