Barton's joint model is the most realistic model for predicting the nonlinear shear behavior of rock joints. This capability comes from the inclusion of a joint surface roughness parameter called the joint roughness coefficient (JRC) that is mobilized under shearing. Recently, a linearized implementation of Barton's model has been done to obtain the mobilized equivalent Mohr-Coulomb (M-C) parameters that account for generation and reduction of JRC as a function of shear displacement ∆u. These equivalent parameters will allow the linear M-C model to capture nonlinearity in the shear behavior of rock joints. In the linearized Barton's model, the pre- and post-peak joint shear stiffness also contains mobilized JRC that is expressed as hyperbolic and logarithmic functions of ∆u, respectively. This paper further explores the capability of the linearized Barton model to predict the shear behavior of rock joints. The model is verified against results from the experimental and numerical direct shear test on joint planes from various rock types. The verification shows that the linearized Barton's model can capture the nonlinearity in the shear stress-displacement and in the dilation-induced shear displacement behaviors of rock joints under variations normal stress and JRC values. In the future, the linearized Barton's model has the potential to be applied in computer codes for fractured rock modeling. By implementing this model, neither the simplicity of the linear M-C model nor the advanced capability of the nonlinear Barton's model is lost.


In a fractured rock mass, the shear behavior of rock joints is particularly important because it dominantly controls the deformability, strength, and hence the stability of the rock mass. Block sliding from a slope or block falling in an underground excavation are examples of joint shear behavior that is not only controlled by the shear strength of the particular joint but also by its dilation (Goodman, 1976; Barton, 1982). The dilation is caused by the mobilization of joint surface roughness, causing a nonlinearity in the shear behavior of rock joints in the form of strain hardening and strain softening under shearing.

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