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ISRM Suggested Method for Laboratory Determination of the Shear Strength of Rock Joints: Revised Version

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to José Muralha.

Additional information

Please send any written comments on this ISRM Suggested Method to Prof. Resat Ulusay, President of the ISRM Commission on Testing Methods, Hacettepe University, Department of Geological Engineering, 06800 Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey.

Appendix:Terminology

Appendix:Terminology

Aperture distance between discontinuity walls measured perpendicular to the average discontinuity plane.

Apparent stress nominal stress on the discontinuity surface, which is the external normal or shear load applied to the discontinuity per nominal unit area.

Asperity any surface irregularity or deviation with respect to the average discontinuity plane. Irregularities and deviations can range from sharp or angular to smooth or rounded.

Asperities the collection of surface irregularities that comprise the discontinuity surface roughness.

Closed-loop testing system a testing system in which the true response of the loading actuator(s) is continuously compared with the desired response of the loading actuator (i.e., a feedback loop) and corrected if required.

Constant Normal Load (CNL) direct shear test methodology whereby the applied normal loading is held constant throughout the test and the normal stiffness may vary.

Constant Normal Stiffness (CNS) direct shear test methodology whereby the applied normal stiffness is held constant throughout the test and the applied normal load varies.

Dilation angle arctangent of the ratio of normal displacement to the corresponding shear displacement

  1. i.

    Peak dilation angle (i peak) arctangent of the ratio of the normal displacement at peak shear strength to the corresponding shear displacement.

  2. ii.

    Ultimate dilation angle (i ult) arctangent of the ratio of the normal displacement at ultimate shear strength to the corresponding shear displacement.

  3. iii.

    Residual dilation angle (i res) arctangent of the ratio of the normal displacement at residual shear strength to the corresponding shear displacement (Note that it is usually difficult to reach true residual strength, because of the limited shear displacement, and the term ‘ultimate strength’ should then be used).

Discontinuity any mechanical break in the integrity or physical properties of rock such as bedding planes, fractures, cleavage, cracks, joints, or faults. Discontinuities can be described as:

  1. i.

    tight (closed) (i.e., consisting of opposing rock surfaces in intimate and generally continuous contact);

  2. ii.

    gapped (open) (i.e., consisting of opposing rock surfaces separated by an open space);

  3. iii.

    partially or totally filled (i.e., consisting of opposing rock surfaces separated by a space, which is partially or totally filled by any type of filling material, such as clay, gouge, breccia, mylonite, thin coatings or veins);

and further characterized as a function of their geometry as:

  1. iv.

    planar to non-planar (undulating) (i.e., the level of deviation from the average discontinuity plane).

  2. v.

    Well matched to poorly matched (i.e., the degree of interlocking between the two walls of the discontinuity).

Friction angle arctangent of the ratio of the applied shear stress to the corresponding apparent normal stress (σn) which is equivalent to the arctangent of the ratio of applied shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  1. i.

    Peak friction angle (ϕ peak) arctangent of the ratio of the peak shear strength to the corresponding apparent normal stress which is equivalent to the arctangent of the ratio of peak shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  2. ii.

    Ultimate friction angle (ϕ ult) arctangent of the ratio of the ultimate shear strength to the corresponding apparent normal stress which is equivalent to the arctangent of the ratio of ultimate shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  3. iii.

    Residual friction angle (ϕ res) equal to the residual friction angle if the apparatus is able to reach a large enough shear displacement.

Friction coefficient the ratio of the applied shear stress to the corresponding apparent normal stress which is equivalent to the ratio of applied shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  1. i.

    Peak friction coefficientpeak) the ratio of the peak shear strength to the corresponding apparent normal stress which is equivalent to the arctangent of the ratio of peak shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  2. ii.

    Ultimate friction coefficientult) the ratio of the ultimate shear strength to the corresponding apparent normal stress which is equivalent to the arctangent of the ratio of ultimate shear load to the corresponding normal load.

  3. iii.

    Residual friction coefficientres) equal to the residual friction coefficient if the apparatus is able to reach a large enough shear displacement.

Nominal area (A) area obtained by measuring or calculating the cross-sectional area of the projection of the discontinuity surface onto the shear plane.

Normal displacement (δ n ) relative displacement of the joint halves perpendicular to the shear plane.

Open-loop testing system a testing system in which the desired loading response is sent as input to the loading actuator without any feedback of the actual response to facilitate correction.

Peak shear load (T peak ) the highest recorded shear load corresponding to a specific initial normal load after which the shear load decreases until ultimate or residual shear loads are reached.

Peak shear strength (τ peak) the highest recorded shear stress corresponding to a specific initial apparent normal stress after which the shear load decreases until ultimate or residual shear loads are reached.

Pitch angular rotation about an axis perpendicular to the shear direction and parallel to the shear plane.

Residual shear load (T res) equal to the residual shear load if the apparatus is able to reach a large enough shear displacement.

Residual shear strength (τ res) equal to the residual shear strength if the apparatus is able to reach a large enough shear displacement.

Roll angular rotation about an axis parallel to the shear direction.

Roughness a measure of the inherent unevenness and waviness of a discontinuity surface relative to its mean plane.

Shear displacement (δ s ) relative displacement of the joint halves measured along the direction of the shear load.

Shear stiffness the ratio of shear stress to the corresponding shear displacement prior to reaching the peak shear strength.

Ultimate shear load (T ult) the shear load corresponding to a specific initial normal load, for which the shear load remains essentially constant with increasing shear displacement.

Ultimate shear strength (τ ult) the shear stress corresponding to a specific initial apparent normal stress, for which the shear stress remains essentially constant with increasing shear displacement.

Yaw angular rotation about an axis perpendicular to the shear direction and to the shear plane.

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Muralha, J., Grasselli, G., Tatone, B. et al. ISRM Suggested Method for Laboratory Determination of the Shear Strength of Rock Joints: Revised Version. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47, 291–302 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-013-0519-z

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