3D rock mass geometrical modeling with arbitrary discontinuities

Guoyang Fu, Lei He, Guowei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes an algorithm to generate the realistic numerical representation of three-dimensional rock masses. The discontinuities can be treated as infinite or finite planes with or without thickness. A finite plane is represented by a polygon and defined using centroid of the polygon, orientation, geometry in 2D plane, the angle between strike line and reference line and other properties including cohesion, friction angle, tensile strength and aperture. Through 3D discontinuity network simulation, the information of discontinuities is obtained as the input data for block generation. The block generation process includes boundary planes cutting, discontinuities cutting and block integration. The results are also verified by graphical check, topological and geometrical properties of a polyhedron. The algorithm we adopt is convenient to be developed into a computer program. The generated model, in which the blocks and loops of blocks could be convex or concave, can be used for single block stability analysis or block model codes like discrete element method (DEM) and discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-887
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Mechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Block generation
  • discontinuity network
  • geological modeling
  • rock discontinuities

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