3D numerical model for dynamic loading-induced multiple fracture zones around underground cavity faces

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Journal Article
Computers and Geotechnics, 2013, 54 pp. 33 - 45
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Three dimensional numerical modelling was used to examine the fracture responses around cavities in rock masses experiencing the stress of excavation. In addition to the primary fracture zone in the near-field, numerical modelling generated a second fracture zone in the far-field and an elastic non-fracture zone between the two fields, i.e., fracture and non-fracture zones occurred alternately around a deep cavity. Further research illustrated that the dynamic load and static stress gradient are two necessary precursors for a far-field fracture in the excavation process. Neither quasi-static loading nor homogeneous stress conditions could induce a far-field fracture. A simple theory is introduced, suggesting that multiple fracture zones occur during excavation due to both the initial stress gradient and the dynamic load. This finding indicates that it may be possible to induce continuous rock fractures in deep underground rock masses by employing optimal excavation methods to generate multiple contiguous fracture zones. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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