Practical Rock Mechanics  book cover
1st Edition

Practical Rock Mechanics

ISBN 9781482217261
Published September 18, 2015 by CRC Press
378 Pages 31 Color & 317 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

An Ideal Source for Geologists and Others with Little Background in Engineering or Mechanics

Practical Rock Mechanics provides an introduction for graduate students as well as a reference guide for practicing engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers. The book considers fundamental geological processes that give rise to the nature of rock masses and control their mechanical behavior. Stresses in the earth’s crust are discussed and methods of measurement and prediction explained. Ways to investigate, describe, test, and characterize rocks in the laboratory and at project scale are reviewed. The application of rock mechanics principles to the design of engineering structures including tunnels, foundations, and slopes is addressed. The book is illustrated throughout with simple figures and photographs, and important concepts are illustrated by modern case examples. Mathematical equations are kept to the minimum necessary and are explained fully—the book leans towards practice rather than theory.

This text:

  • Addresses the principles of rock mechanics as it applies to both structural geology and engineering practice
  • Demonstrates the importance of and methods of geological characterisation to rock engineering
  • Examines the standard methods of rock mechanics testing and measurement as well as interpretation of data in practice
  • Explains connections between main parameters both empirically as well as on the basis of scientific theory
  • Provides examples of the practice of rock mechanics to major engineering projects

Practical Rock Mechanics teaches from first principles and aids readers’ understanding of the concepts of stress and stress transformation and the practical application of rock mechanics theory. This text can help ensure that ground models and designs are correct, realistic, and produced cost-effectively.

Table of Contents

Introduction to rock mechanics
Differentiating between soil and rock
Mechanics of failure
Classification of intact rock
Compressive strength of weak rock
Origins of shear strength in intact rock
Shear strength parameters for the sample in Figure
Stability of a cut slope in weak rock
Discontinuities in rock masses
The importance of discontinuities to stability
Early lessons and the relevance of rock mechanics
Application of rock mechanics
History of the subject area
Rock mechanics as a scientific discipline
Load changes
Fundamental mechanics
Mohr circle representation of stress-state
Stress concentration in underground openings
Stresses below foundations
Effective stress
Rock deformation and behaviour
Direct shear
Simple shear and associated rock structures
Surface features on rock fractures
Conclusions to this section
Geological processes and the nature of rock masses
Earth stresses
Rock textures, fabrics and effect on properties
Rock joints and other discontinuities
Major geological structures
Hydrogeology of rock masses
Fundamental concepts and definitions
Hydraulic conductivity and permeability
Measuring hydraulic conductivity
Typical parameters
Unconfined and confined aquifers and storage
Compartmentalisation, aquicludes and aquitards
Flow paths
Characterisation and prediction of hydrogeological conditions for projects
Hydrogeological modelling
Characterising rock for engineering purposes
Initial stages of site investigation
Field mapping
Trial excavations
Discontinuity surveys
Remote measurement
Rose diagrams
Stereographic interpretation
Roughness measurement
Ground investigation techniques
Description and classification of rocks
Rock mass classifications
Interpreting ground conditions and reporting
Contracts for construction
Instrumentation and monitoring
Properties and parameters for design
Role of index testing
Basic characterisation
Rock strength and its measurement
Rock deformability
Rock shear strength at mass scale
Hydraulic conductivity and related parameters
Foundations on rock
Design of shallow foundations
Difficult sites
Deep foundations
Case example: The Izmit Bay crossing: Rock engineering for the anchorage of a major suspension bridge
Site formation
Rock slopes
Design of engineering works
Slope formation
Open-pit slopes
Underground excavations
Difference between tunnels and caverns
Stability categories for underground excavations
Cavern construction
Conversion factors (to two decimal places)

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Steve Hencher is research professor in engineering geology at the University of Leeds, UK, and an honorary professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. Up until recently, he was a director of Halcrow (China) and head of Geotechnics in the Hong Kong Office for approximately ten years. Previously, he worked with Bechtel on the design of the high-speed railway in South Korea and for the Geotechnical Control Office of the Hong Kong Government. He also spent 12 intervening years teaching an MSc course in engineering geology and conducting research at the University of Leeds.


"in my opinion, the great strength of this book, and the feature that distinguishes it from any other book that I am familiar with in the field of rock mechanics and rock engineering, is its emphasis on (these) basic geological factors and their influence, often their over-riding influence, on the design and performance of engineering projects constructed in and on rock. … I know of no other book that explains as thoroughly or as well the centrally important relationship between the geological history and the resulting geological features of a site on the one hand, and the investigation, design, construction and performance on an engineering project on the other."
—Professor Edwin T Brown AC, Senior Consultant, Golder Associates Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia, Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, President, International Society for Rock Mechanics, 1983-87

"Steve Hencher's book has an Earth scientists approach to practical rock mechanics and his in-depth knowledge of geological structures and mechanical properties of rock material offer an excellent introduction to rock mechanics and rock engineering. … excellent case studies from civic works, mines and underground constructions. … written so that students with a basic knowledge in geology can follow the more mechanistic parts and apply the knowledge to rock engineering problems and field cases.
—Ove Stephansson, GFZ Potsdam, Germany and SRC Berlin

"… gives very good description of the rock materials and rock mass. It is very suitable for civil engineers."
—Jian Zhao, Monash University