Rock slope fracture process using a combined block theory and discontinuous deformation analysis approach based on the strength reduction method

Wang Shuhong, Ni Yong, Viete Daniel Ricardo, Gamage Ranjith Pathegama

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Blocky rock masses are commonly seen in engineering as undesirable. The geometrical characteristics of such blocky rocks are irregular and the use of only one method to simulate and analyze the rock mass can lead to inaccuracy in understanding stability behavior. Methods for stability analysis of blocky rock masses are increasingly using combinations of analytical approaches. Geotechnical problems involving blocky rock masses must consider the nature of the discontinuities that form the rock blocks and a tendency toward large deformation along these. New software for simulation and analysis of blocky rock (based on block theory),GeoSMA-3D is presented for stability analysis in three dimensions. The software is partnered with discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA), to identify all potential slip failure surfaces and obtain safety factors for them. The method first discretizes the model by addition of a large amount of 'invented' joints. These virtual joints cut the rock mass into many small block units for which the mechanical parameters of the virtual joints are the same as the intact rock. Secondly, the cohesion and friction coefficient for the real (and not the invented) joints are systematically varied during trial calculations which use DDA to stimulate the failure process. After some amount of trial, the structure comes to a critical (failed) state from which the critical slip failure surface and deformation mode can be identified and the reduction coefficient (the safety factor) can be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalDisaster Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


  • Block analysis
  • Discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA)
  • Invented joints
  • Rock slope
  • Stability analysis
  • Strength reduction

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