Abstract

To cater for the R&D activities associated with the fast-growing underground space development in Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University has spent a considerable effort in upgrading the rock mechanics laboratory for the past 5 years. The key upgrades and purchases focus on enhancing the R&D capability in the following three major areas of "preparation of rock specimens", "sampling and characterization of rock specimens", and "loading rock specimens at different conditions". This paper shares the experience of the laboratory upgrading. The key considerations of the major expensive purchases are addressed.

1. Introduction

The past and the coming decades see an exciting opportunity of rock engineering research in association with the fast-growing underground space development in Singapore. The successful construction and commissioning of the Underground Ammunition Facility by the Ministry of Defense in 2008 and the Jurong Rock Cavern (Phase 1) for the storage of hydrocarbon by the JTC in 2014 signify the importance of underground space resource in this country. To support such engineering activities, the local universities, especially Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have been actively conducting relevant engineering geology and rock engineering research. As such, a considerable effort has been spent in upgrading the rock mechanics laboratory for the past five years. The key upgrades and purchases focus on enhancing the R&D capability in the following three major areas, namely "preparation of rock specimens", "sampling and characterization of rock specimens", and "loading rock specimens at different conditions". This paper summarizes the experience of the laboratory upgrading.

2. Preparation of rock specimens

Rock samples are retrieved from the sites typically either in the form of rock cores or rock blocks. The former are obtained by rotary coring method, while the latter are obtained from cavern/tunnel excavation using the drill-and-blast method. Rock specimens are then prepared in general accordance with the ISRM suggested methods and/or ASTM by cutting them into appropriate dimensions, which are then grinded smooth. Cutting is performed on a circular cutting saw (Fig. 1) or a linear precision cutting saw (Fig. 2). The grinding and polishing of rock specimens is performed on an automatic surface grinding machine (Fig. 3). For grinding and polishing small specimens, the equipment as shown in Fig. 4 is used.

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