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Abstract

In recent years the engineering geologist has entered a picture formerly occupied primarily by mining engineers concerned with the nature of rock bursts in mine tunnels. Now, the civil engineer can achieve better and more economical designs by utilizing the engineering geologist to weave together the tectonic history of a site with the test results and the future effect of forces to be imposed by the man-made structure. Knowledge of the uncon-fined compressive strength of rock no longer is considered adequate. Reliable data on the modulus of elasticity and Poisson’s ratio of the rocks that will underlie the structure permit the civil engineer to take advantage of the inherent elastic properties of the rocks. Reductions can be achieved in the amount of steel in tunnel linings, concrete in arch dams, support in underground chambers, and yardage to be excavated in conjunction with these structures. For example, tests prior to the final design of the Cubatafo Underground Powerplant (Brazil) tunnels resulted in the elimination of almost 80 per cent of the lining steel; it was found that a considerable part of the internal hydrostatic pressure could be transmitted to the rock surrounding the lining.

Despite the wealth of available data on rock properties, much is conflicting, uninterpreted, or inapplicable to civil-engineering problems. A major research problem is how to correlate field tests in situ with laboratory tests on rock specimens. A corollary is: “Which test method most nearly provides the actual in situ properties of a rock foundation?”

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