Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 1471–1480 | Cite as

Modification of rock mass strength assessment methods and their application in geotechnical engineering

  • Daming Lin
  • Kaiyang Wang
  • Kun Li
  • Wantong He
  • Weixing Bao
  • Renmao YuanEmail author
  • Yanjun Shang
Original Paper


Due to complicated structures and discontinuities in surrounding rock mass, existing empirical failure criteria cannot meet the requirements of engineering practice such as tunnels. To improve estimation accuracy on the strength of rock mass with joints, a modified chart of the Geological Strength Index using Hoek–Brown criteria was further tested to estimate rock mass strength [Lin et al. (2014) Bull Eng Geol Environ 4(73):1245–1258], and, in this paper, new strength estimation equations for jointed rock mass were then modified based on a large dataset obtained from Chinese projects. Here, standard drilling time is first introduced and described in this study, and then used as a parameter to estimate rock strength. Different empirical formulas based on joint density, rock mass classification, Hoek–Brown criteria, and elastic wave velocity are thus used to estimate rock mass strength by using data from the Jiubao tunnel. The results estimated based on different empirical formulas were similar, indicating that the modified assessment method presented in this paper can be used to estimate rock mass strength under certain circumstances. Cross-correlation of different empirical methods provides significant confidence in predicted rock mass strength calculations.


Rock mass strength estimation Joint density Velocity of elastic waves Drilling time The Jiubao tunnel 



Total number of joints in a rock mass specimen


Correlation coefficient based on different engineering types


Uniaxial compressive strength of rock mass (MPa)


Uniaxial compressive strength of rock (MPa)


Saturated compressive strength of a rock specimen (MPa)


Dry compressive strength of a rock specimen (MPa)


Major principal compressive stresses at peak strength (MPa)


Minor principal compressive stresses at peak strength (MPa)


Unit weight of rock mass


Wave velocity of longitudinal waves in the jointed rock (km/s)


Wave velocity of longitudinal waves in the intact rock (km/s)


Rock mass rating


Rock mass quality


Joint roughness


Joint alteration


Rock mineral condition


Rock core length


Drilling time (min/m)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daming Lin
    • 1
  • Kaiyang Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kun Li
    • 2
  • Wantong He
    • 2
  • Weixing Bao
    • 1
    • 5
  • Renmao Yuan
    • 4
    Email author
  • Yanjun Shang
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Institute of HighwayMinistry of TransportBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Traffic Planning and Design Institute of Yunnan ProvinceKunmingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Active Tectonics and Volcano, Institute of GeologyChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  5. 5.Sinkiang Traffic Construction Management BureauÜrümqiChina

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