15

Supporting action of anchors/bolts
Anchors or rockbolts are reinforcements (usually made of steel) which are
inserted into the ground to increase its stiffness and strength. There are var-
ious sorts of reinforcement actions and the corresponding terminology is not
uniform.
1
The following terminology is used in soil mechanics:
1. If the reinforcement bar is fixed only at its both ends, then it is called an
’anchor’. Anchors can be pre-stressed or not, in the latter case they assume
force only after some extension (e.g. due to convergence of the tunnel).
2. If the reinforcement bar is connected to the surrounding ground over its
entire length, then it is called a ’nail’ or ’bolt’. The connection can be
achieved with cement mortar (Fig. 15.1).
Fig. 15.1. Nail
In jointed rock, reinforcement bars are placed ad hoc to prevent collapse of
individual blocks (Fig. 15.2). Anchoring or bolting in a regular array is called
’pattern bolting’.
1
see also C.R. Windsor, A.G. Thompson: Rock Reinforcement - Technology, Test-
ing, Design and Evaluation. In: Comprehensive Rock Engineering, Vol. 4, Pergamon
Press 1993, 451-484
308 15 Supporting action of anchors/bolts
Fig. 15.2. Individual application of anchors to prevent downfall of blocks
15.1 Impact of pattern bolting
It is generally believed that reinforcing improves the mechanical behaviour of
ground. Despite several attempts however, the reinforcing action of stiff inlets
is not yet satisfactorily understood and their application is still empirical. In
some approaches, reinforced ground is considered as a two-phase continuum
in the sense that both constituents are assumed to be smeared and present
everywhere in the considered body. Thus, their mechanical properties prevail
everywhere, provided that they are appropriately weighed (Appendix F). The
stiffening action of inlets can be demonstrated if we consider a conventional
triaxial test on a soil sample containing a thin pin of, say, steel (Fig. 15.3).
Fig. 15.3. Steel inlet in triaxial sample, distribution of vertical displacements and
stress trajectories for two different orientations of the inlet.
The stiff inlet is here assumed as non-extendable (i.e. rigid). Therefore, its
vertical displacement is constant as shown in Fig. 15.3. This implies a relative
slip of the adjacent soil, which is oriented downwards in the upper half and
upwards in the lower half. Being stiffer, the pin ’attracts’ force and, thus,
the adjacent soil is partly relieved from compressive stresses. As a result, the
triaxial sample, viewed as a whole, is now stiffer. This effect is closely related
to ’tension stiffening’ known in concrete engineering.
15.1 Impact of pattern bolting 309
Another way to increase the stiffness of reinforced soil is given by increasing
the pressure level. As known, the stiffness of granular materials increases al-
most linearly with stress level. The latter can be increased by pre-stressing
an array of anchors, i.e. of reinforcing inlets that transmit the force to the
surrounding ground only at their ends ad not over their entire length. An
analysis of this mechanism is presented in the next section.
15.1.1 Ground stiffening by pre-stressed anchors
The strengthening effect of pre-stressed pattern bolting will be considered
for the case of a tunnel with circular cross section within a hydrostatically
stressed elastoplastic ground. The primary hydrostatic stress is σ

. If the
spacing of the anchors is sufficiently small, their action upon the ground can
be approximated with a uniform radial stress σ
A
(Fig. 15.4).
Fig. 15.4. Idealised pattern bolting
The radial stress σ
A
is obtained by dividing the anchor force with the pertain-
ing surface. Let n be the number of anchors per one meter of tunnel length.
We then obtain
σ
A0
=
nA
2πr
0
, σ
Ae
=
nA
2πr
e
or
σ
Ae
= σ
A0
·
r
0
r
e
.
It is, thus, reasonable to assume the following distribution of σ
A
within the
range r
0
< r < r
e
σ
A
= σ
A0
·
r
0
r
. (15.1)
We consider the entire stress in the range r
0
< r < r
e
. Pre-stressing of the
anchors increases the radial stress from σ
r
to σ
r
+ σ
A
(Fig. 15.5).
310 15 Supporting action of anchors/bolts
We now assume that in the range r
0
< r < r
e
the shear strength of the ground
is fully mobilised. For this case we will determine the support pressure p. For
simplicity, we consider a cohesionless ground (c = 0) and obtain
σ
θ
= K
p

r
+ σ
A
) (15.2)
with K
p
=
1 + sinϕ
1 −sinϕ
.
Fig. 15.5. Limit stress in pre-stressed region
Equilibrium in radial direction reads
d(σ
r
+ σ
A
)
dr
+
σ
r
+ σ
A
−K
p

r
+ σ
A
)
r
= 0 . (15.3)
Introducing (15.1) into (15.3) yields

r
dr
+
1
r

σ
r
(1 −K
p
) −K
p
σ
A0
r
0
r

= 0 . (15.4)
The solution of the differential equation (15.4) is obtained as
σ
r
= const · r
K
p
−1
−σ
A0
r
0
r
.
The integration constant is obtained from the boundary condition σ
r
(r
0
)
!
= p
where p is the pressure exerted by the ground upon the lining. We finally
obtain
σ
r
= (p + σ
A0
) ·

r
r
0

K
p
−1
−σ
A0
r
0
r
. (15.5)
At the boundary of the elastic region (at r = r
e
) it must be σ
r
= σ
e
, where
σ
e
is obtained from equation 14.21:
15.1 Impact of pattern bolting 311
(p + σ
A0
)

r
e
r
0

K
p
−1
−σ
A0
·
r
0
r
e
=
2
K
p
+ 1
· σ

(15.6)
We meet the simplifying assumption that the plastified zone coincides with the
anchored ring, i.e. we introduce r
e
= r
0
+ l, where l is the theoretical anchor
length, into Equ. 15.6 and eliminate p. We thus obtain the support pressure
in dependence of the pre-stressing force A of the anchors, their number n
per tunnel meter, the theoretical anchor length l, the tunnel radius r
0
, the
primary stress σ

and the friction angle ϕ:
p =



K
p
+ 1
+
nA
2πr
0
·
r
0
r
0
+ l

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1

nA
2πr
0
(15.7)
The real anchor length L should be greater than the theoretical one, in such
a way that the anchor force can be distributed along the boundary r = r
e
(Fig. 15.6). In practice, the anchor lengths are taken as 1.5 to 2 times the
thickness of the plastified zone.
Fig. 15.6. Theoretical (l) and real (L) anchor lengths
15.1.2 Pre-stressed anchors in cohesive soils
To consider cohesion, equation 15.2 is replaced by
σ
θ
= K
p

r
+ σ
A
) + 2c
cos ϕ
1 −sin ϕ
.
Thus, equilibrium in radial direction reads
312 15 Supporting action of anchors/bolts

r
dr
+
1
r
·
¸
σ
r
(1 −K
p
) −2c
cos ϕ
1 −sin ϕ
−K
p
σ
A0
r
0
r

= 0 .
The solution of this differential equation reads:
σ
r
= const · r
K
p
−1
−σ
A0

r
0
r

−c
2 cos ϕ
(K
p
−1)(1 −sin ϕ)
.
With the boundary condition σ
r
(r
0
)
!
= p and with
2 cos ϕ
(K
p
−1)(1−sin ϕ)
= cot ϕ one
finally obtains
σ
r
= (p + σ
A0
+ c · cot ϕ)

r
r
0

K
p
−1
+ σ
A0
r
0
r
−c · cot ϕ .
From the requirement σ
r
(r
e
) = σ
e
with σ
e
according to equation 14.25 it is
obtained:
(p + σ
A0
+ c · cot ϕ)

r
e
r
0

K
p
−1
−σ
A0
r
0
r
e
−c · cot ϕ
= σ

(1 −sin ϕ) −c · cos ϕ ,
With r
e
= r
0
+ l it finally follows:
p = σ

(1 −sin ϕ)

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1

nA
2πr
0
¸
1 −

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
¸
−c · cot ϕ
¸
1 −

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1
¸
−c · cos ϕ

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1
.
(15.8)
If the ground pressure is to be taken solely by the anchors (i.e. p = 0), then:
nA ≥
2πr
0
1 −

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
·

σ

(1 −sin ϕ)

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1
−c · cot ϕ
¸
1 −

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1
¸
−c · cos ϕ

r
0
r
0
+ l

K
p
−1
¸
.
In case of large convergences, support by anchors is preferable to shotcrete
which is not sufficiently ductile and may fracture. However, adjustable anchors
should be used.
15.1 Impact of pattern bolting 313
15.1.3 Stiffening effect of pattern bolting
In this section we consider the stiffening effect of arrays of bolts, i.e. reinforcing
elements that are not pre-stressed and transmit shear forces to the surrounding
ground over their entire length. Considering equilibrium of the normal force
N and the shear stress τ applying upon the periphery of a bolt element of the
length dx (Fig. 15.7) we obtain dN = τπddx. With N = σπd
2
/4, σ = Eε and
ε = du
s
/dx we obtain
d
2
u
s
dx
2
=

Ed
,
with u
s
being the displacement of the bolt. Obviously, the shear stress τ
acting between bolt and surrounding ground is mobilised with the relative
displacement, τ = τ(s), s = u
s
− u, where u is the displacement of the
ground.
2
Fig. 15.7. Forces upon a bolt element
Of course, u depends on τ: In a first step of simplified (uncoupled) analysis
we assume that u does not depend on τ and is given by the elastic solution
(cf. Equ. 14.16):
u =
σ

−p
2G
r
0
2
r
.
Herein, r is the radius with respect to the tunnel axis. Furthermore, we assume
a rigid-idealplastic relation τ(s), i.e. τ achieves immediately its maximum
value τ
0
. Thus, the total force transmitted by shear upon a bolt of the length
l is lτ
0
πd. This force is applied via the top platen upon the tunnel wall.
Assuming n bolts per m
2
tunnel wall we obtain thus the equivalent support
pressure p
bolt
= nlτ
0
πd. If the arrangement of bolts is given by the spacings
a and b (Fig. 15.8), then n = 1/(ab). Thus,
2
Consider e.g. the relations used in concrete engineering: K. Zilch and A. Rogge,
Grundlagen der Bemessung von Beton-, Stahlbeton- und Spannbetonbauteilen nach
DIN 1045-1. In: Betonkalender 2000, BK1, 171-312, Ernst & Sohn Berlin, 2000
314 15 Supporting action of anchors/bolts
p
bolt
=
1
ab
τ
o
πdl (15.9)
modifies the support line as shown in Fig. 15.9.
Fig. 15.8. Array of bolts
Fig. 15.9. Ground reaction line and support line affected by idealised bolts (As-
sumptions: rigid bolts, rigid-idealplastic shear stress transmission to the ground,
ground displacement not influenced by the bolts, installation of bolts is instanta-
neous).
An alternative approach based on the multiphase model of reinforced ground
is given in Appendix F.

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