Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 107–131 | Cite as

Modelling Shear Behaviour of Joint Based on Joint Surface Degradation During Shearing

  • Yang Gui
  • Caichu XiaEmail author
  • Wenqi Ding
  • Xin Qian
  • Shigui Du
Original Paper


An empirical model of the shear behaviour of rock joints is suggested based on a recently proposed joint surface degradation investigation method. Plaster joint replicas were tested with various surface roughnesses, normal stresses, and shear displacements. Joint surfaces with identical joint surface roughness were tested under the same normal stress and the tests were stopped at different shear displacements to investigate the joint surface degradation during shearing. Moreover, the joint surfaces before and after the shear tests were digitized and the digital surfaces were aligned with the help of reference points attached to the sides of the specimens. As a result, the joint surface deformation and void space during shearing could be determined. An empirical model was built based on analysis of the failure mode and failure process of the joint asperities under shearing; the model also takes into account that the basic friction angle varies with normal stress acting on the contact area. The concept of the equivalent effective asperity dipping angle, de, which can be regarded as the representative angle along which the two surfaces slide, was proposed and employed in the derivation of the joint shear and dilation model. Additional shear tests were conducted to verify the proposed model by comparing it with the modified Barton model.


Rock joint Surface degradation Shear behaviour Dilation 

List of symbols

a, b, c, d

Fitting constants


Dimensionless parameter for characterizing joint roughness


Basic friction angle (°)


Equivalent effective asperity dipping angle (°)


Equivalent effective asperity dipping angle at peak shear displacement (°)


Dilation angle (°)


Peak dilation angle (°)


Inclined angle of tooth (°)


Asperity dipping angle (°)


The maximum asperity dipping angle (°)


Joint compressive strength (MPa)


Joint roughness coefficient


Mobilized JRC during shearing


The initial joint roughness coefficient


Shear stiffness before peak shear stress (MPa/mm)


Length scale of the lab specimen (0.1 m = 100 mm)


Length of profile along shear direction (mm)


Length along tooth inclined direction (mm)


The maximum possible contact length along the shear direction (mm)


Potential contact length with asperity dipping angle larger than θ (mm)


Correction coefficient for dilation angle


Correction coefficient for peak dilation angle


Error rate


Shear component which is attributed by the failure of intact asperities (°)


Shear stress of joint (MPa)


Shear strength, shear stress at peak shear displacement (MPa)


Shear displacement (mm)


Peak shear displacement (mm)


Peak shear displacement along joint inclined direction (mm)


Normal displacement (mm)


Normal displacement at peak shear displacement (mm)


Mobilized basic friction angle during shearing (°)


Amplitude of the first-order profile (mm)


Normal stress on the inclined plane of the joint(MPa)


Normal stress on the joint (MPa)


Tensile strength of the joint material (MPa)


Root mean square of the first derivative of the profile



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.41327001, No.41472248). The authors also acknowledge all the anonymous reviewers and the associate editor for their constructive comments that led to improvements in the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geotechnical EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Civil EngineeringShaoxing UniversityShaoxingPeople’s Republic of China

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