Numerous schemes have been proposed in the past to evaluate the shear strength of rock discontinuities based on in situ and laboratory testing. Due to scale effects, in situ testing is the most reliable way to assess the shear strength parameters. However, practical reasons often impede this kind of testing. This is unfortunate because advances in theoretical rock mechanics are still dependant on qualitative experimental works. This paper presents a mobile high capacity shear apparatus developed for in situ direct shear testing of discontinuities along with testing methodology. The apparatus has the advantage of being simple, although of high capacity, and can be moved to different site locations for other tests. The in situ test was performed on a natural rock outcrop of schist with subvertical schistosity. A concrete block 50 × 50 cm with a base layer of high strength mortar was cast on the rock surface. Prior to the test, the concrete block was lifted and repositioned to have an unbonded joint but with interlocking asperities. The shear load was applied perpendicularly to the schistosity direction. The test was conducted in a constant normal load (CNL) condition. Both normal and shear loads were applied manually. The instrumentation consisted of two load cells for shear and normal loading, eight displacement laser extensometers for shear, normal, and lateral displacements and fourteen acoustic emission sensors for monitoring evolution of asperities' degradation during the test. The friction angle obtained is 72° for the peak and 58° for the residual. The high values of friction angle indicates that first-order roughness and good interlocking of the joint surfaces can result in high shear strength parameter values in a rock generally regarded to have low values.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.