Abstract

This paper presents an application of a 3D fracture network model and 3D persistence to confirm the representative volume element (RVE) in a fractured rock mass. Based on field fracture data collected from the Songta dam site, a large 3D fracture network is generated to analyse the RVE. The 3D persistence, which is governed by the comprehensive characteristics of fracture location, orientation, size and density, strongly affects the shear strength of fractured rock masses. Hence, it is valuable to confirm the RVE size considering the persistence, which combines the geometric and mechanical properties of a rock mass. The persistence values of the entire model and of cubes of different sizes, which are located in the centre of the model, are determined. A relative error of 10% is selected as the benchmark to evaluate the similarity between the cubes and the model. Finally, 15 m is confirmed as the size of the RVE in the study area.

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