Mining Publication: UDEC Modeling of an Underground Opening in a Rock Mass of Varying Quality
This project involved modeling rock masses with varying Rock Mass Rating (RMR) values to determine the degree of instability that develops around an underground opening as a function of RMR. The modeling was performed using the Itasca UDEC distinct element software, which allows explicit modeling of blocks of rock and how they interact with each other. The analyses included three different orientations of the joint sets, four different joint spacings and three different values of joint strength, which combine for a total of 36 different combinations of model parameters. Two different modes of behavior were observed: local failure of area immediately surrounding the roof and sides of the opening, and deep-seated failure extending a large distance beyond the opening. Quantification of the size of the unstable area that developed provides numerical validation of empirical guidelines used in design of ground support and instrumented monitoring systems.