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Role of natural fractures in damage evolution around tunnel excavation in fractured rocks
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. (Geohydrology)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2355-4861
2017 (English)In: Engineering Geology, ISSN 0013-7952, E-ISSN 1872-6917, Vol. 231, p. 100-113Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the role of pre-existing fractures in the damage evolution around tunnel excavation in fractured rocks. The length distribution of natural fractures can be described by a power law model, whose exponent a defines the relative proportion of large and small fractures in the system. The larger a is, the higher proportion of small fractures is. A series of two-dimensional discrete fracture networks (DENs) associated with different length exponent a and fracture intensity P-21 is generated to represent various scenarios of distributed preexisting fractures in the rock. The geomechanical behaviour of the fractured rock embedded with DFN geometry in response to isotropic/anisotropic in-situ stress conditions and excavation-induced perturbations is simulated using the hybrid finite-discrete element method (FEMDEM), which can capture the deformation of intact rocks, the interaction of matrix blocks, the displacement of natural fractures, and the propagation of new cracks. An excavation damaged zone (EDZ) develops around the man-made opening as a result of reactivation of preexisting fractures and propagation of wing cracks. The simulation results show that when a is small, the system which is dominated by large fractures can remain stable after excavation given that P-21 is not very high; however, intensive structurally-governed kinematic instability can occur if P-21 is sufficiently high and the fracture spacing is much smaller than the tunnel size. With the increase of a, the system becomes more dominated by small fractures, and the EDZ is mainly created by the coalescence of small fractures near the tunnel boundary. The results of this study have important implications for designing stable underground openings for radioactive waste repositories as well as other engineering facilities that are intended to generate minimal damage in the host rock mass.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 231, p. 100-113
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-335606DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2017.10.013ISI: 000418975600011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-335606DiVA, id: diva2:1163561
Available from: 2017-12-07 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2018-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Tsang, Chin-Fu

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