Analysis of foundation problems using discontinuum and equivalent continuum approaches with embedded discrete fractures

D. Elmo, G. Cammarata, D. Stead, Ronald Brinkgreve

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Numerical methods and computing techniques are now integrated components in rock mechanics and rock engineering design, providing an opportunity to increase our fundamental understanding of the factors governing rock mass behavior. It is increasingly evident that models of rock mass behavior should incorporate realistic representation of fracture networks as well as should constitute an effective aid for the evaluation of scale-effects for those engineering problem where performing field tests at different scales is not technically or economically viable. This paper provides a discussion on proposed theoretical approach broadly adopted to study the stability of slopes that include intermittent joints. Limitations of the approach are demonstrated by showing the results of numerical analyses carried out with discontinuum (ELFEN) and continuum (PLAXIS) codes applied to the study of conceptual slope and foundation problems in fractured rock masses. The paper highlights the importance in rock engineering design of applying numerical modeling for rock bridge related problems, and emphasis is given to methods to account for rock bridge strength at the desired engineering scale.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 52nd US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium held in Seattle, Washington, USA
Subtitle of host publication17–20 June 2018
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium - Seattle, United States
Duration: 17 Jun 201820 Jun 2018
Conference number: 52


Conference52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium
Abbreviated titleAMRA 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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