ABSTRACT:

Modeling the behavior of rock masses consisting of a large number of layers is often necessary in mining applications (e.g. coal mining). Such a modeling can be carried out in a discontinuum manner by explicit introduction of joints using either the finite element or distinct element approach. When the number of layers to be modeled is excessively large it is advantageous to devise a continuum-based method. A continuum description of a layered medium can be formulated as long as consistency and statistical homogeneity in joint properties and spacing can be established. However, when joint slips are large and rock layers do bend as they slip against each other continuum-based models based on standard conventional continuum theories (e.g. ubiquitous joint model) may considerably overestimate the deformation since the bending rigidity of the rock layers are not incorporated in such model formulations.

1 GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

Modeling the behavior of rock masses consisting of a large number of layers is often necessary in mining applications (e.g. coal mining). Such a modeling can be carried out in a discontinuum manner by explicit introduction of joints using either the finite element or distinct element approach (Goodman et. al, 1968 and Cundall 1987). When the number of layers to be modeled is excessively large (i.e. when the layers are thin compared to the dimensions of the engineering structures) it is advantageous to devise a continuum-based method. A continuum description of a layered medium can be formulated as long as consistency and statistical homogeneity in joint properties and spacing can be established. Such a continuum model provides a largescale (average) description of the material response to loading. Thus, in smeared joint models, the size of the elements is solely dictated by computational needs rather than by the layer thickness.

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