The ways ahead for rock engineering design methodologies

02 March 2004 | 14:46 Code : 3634 Geoscience events
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discuss the future of rock engineering design methodologies within the framework of the eight current and potential basic design ...
discuss the future of rock engineering design methodologies within the framework of the eight current and potential basic design approaches. We note that many rock engineering projects are on the limit of precedent practice, involving large scales, increasing costs, enhanced environmental awareness and the need to understand and predict the consequences of coupled mechanisms involving stress, water, heat and chemical reactions. At the same time, rock mechanics modeling is also becoming more complex and many more component elements and mechanisms can now be included in the numerical codes. Thus, because both the projects and the modeling are becoming more sophisticated, yet it may not be possible to obtain the necessary site information to support all the required input data for modeling, there is a need to consider how a design approach can be developed that integrates the current methods and includes those methods that are not based on exact 1:1 mapping between the problem geometry/mechanisms and the model. Our emphasis, therefore, is on development of the integrated design approach and the `intelligent' methods. We also discuss how a virtual laboratory and the Internet can support these developments. An illustrative design case history of the shiplock slopes at the Threee Gorges Dam project in China is included. The paper concludes with nine specific points. Xia-Ting Feng

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