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# Analytical, empirical and observational methods

Design (i)
• Utilise the rock itself as the principal structural
material, creating as little disturbance as
possible and using as little support as is possible
• Need to understand the response of rock to
• Rock mechanics principles applied right through
from initial feasibility stage to design and
monitoring of major tunnelling and mining
operations
interacting factors are considered
Design (ii)
• Need to plan the location of structures,
determine their dimensions and shapes,
their orientation and layout, excavation
procedures, support type selection and
subsequent monitoring in order to
reacting factors are considered
• Three design approaches: analytical,
observational and empirical
EFFECTS OF STRESS AND ASSOCIATED INSTABILITY
Design methods: (a) analytical
 Analytical methods: Utilise the analysis of stresses and
deformation around excavations. They include such
techniques as numerical methods (computer
simulation) and physical modelling
ELASTIC STRESS ANALYSIS
Kirsch equations (Kirsch, 1898), provide equations that define the elastic stress
redistribution around a circular opening in a biaxial stress field.

## These equations can be useful to assess the effects of stress redistribution in

different stress fields (evaluate potential effects of K-ratio), assess the likely stability of
an excavation (compare induced stress to strength criterion/characteristics) and
assess the zone of influence of an excavation.
Design methods: (b) observational
 Observational methods rely on actual monitoring of
ground movements during excavation to detect
measurable instability, and on the analysis of ground-
support interaction.
 Although considered as separate methods,
observational approaches are the only way to check the
results and predictions of the other design methods.
Design methods: (c) empirical
 Empirical methods – assess the stability of mines and
tunnels by use of the statistical analyses of
underground observations.
 Frequently used in rock engineering practice –
Engineering Rock Mass Classifications are the best
known empirical approach for assessing the stability of
excavations in rock.
 Note that all design methods require geological input
and consideration of statutory Safety Regulations
Steps
involved in
support
design for
slopes
Observational Design
In essence, you need to monitor ground
movement during excavation to detect
measurable instability, and on the
analysis of ground support interaction.
Although considered as separate
methods, observational approaches are
the only way to check the results and
predictions of the other design methods.
Peck 1969 – observational method
(OM) in soil mechanics
DESIGN
a)Sufficient site investigation
b)Develop initial design on Most Probable (best
estimates)and predict behaviour
c)Develop Monitoring strategy on best case.
d)Also, perform calculations on most unfavourable
conditions
e)Identify contingency plans
SITE CONTROLS –
a)Monitor and evaluate actual conditions on site
b)Modify design to suit actual conditions if triggers exceeded
c)Adequate time – make decisions & implement contingency
Again -provides economy without compromising safety
CIRIA 185 (1999) Description of OM

## “The Observational Method in ground engineering

is a continuous, managed, integrated, process
of design, construction control, monitoring and
review that enables previously defined
modifications to be incorporated during or after
construction as appropriate. All these aspects
have to be demonstrably robust. The objective
is to achieve greater overall economy without
compromising safety.”
key design stages of the ‘observational method’
Graph showing ‘discovery-recovery’ model
A ‘discovery-recovery’ model can be used for example to assess the level
of risk associated with drivage of a particular tunnelling operation.
TRAFFIC LIGHTS
The observational method facilitates design changes
during construction and establishes a framework for risk
management.

## Traffic light conditions include:-

•Green= Safe site condition.

## •Red = Implement planned modifications

Traffic light system for an incremental excavation
process (CIRIA 185, 1999)
N.B.
 The importance of early decision making to
instigate actions for recovery is an important
feature of the UK Health and Safety Executive
(HSE, 1996 Discovery-Recovery model), and
is a legal requirement for use on all UK
construction sites.
Steps involved
in support
design for
underground
excavations in
hard rock
Steps involved in support design for underground excavations in hard rock (pt 2)
Stages of design procedure -
after Bienawski (1984)
A Preliminary data collection

B Feasibility study

## C Detailed site characterisation

D Stability analyses

## E Final design and construction

Chart 6A.
Detailed design
procedure for
rock tunnels,
after Bienawski
(1984)
Chart 6b –
Detailed design
procedure for rock
tunnels, after
Bienawski (1984)
Chart 6c – Detailed
design procedure
for rock tunnels,
after Bienawski
(1984)
Chart 6D -
from C
Chart 6E – Detailed
design procedure for
rock tunnels, after
Bienawski (1984)
Design process for
tunnelling,
according to the
International
Tunnelling
Association (After
Duddeck, 1988)
Typical problems, critical parameters, methods of analysis and
acceptability criteria for underground civil engineering excavations
Aspects of the Design process
(a) Exploration sufficient to establish at least the general nature, pattern and
properties of the deposits, but not necessarily in detail.
(b) Assessment of the most probable conditions and the most unfavourable
conceivable deviations from these conditions. In this assessment geology
often plays a major role.
(c) Establishment of the design based on a working hypothesis of behaviour
anticipated under the most favourable conditions.
(d) Selection of quantities to be observed as construction proceeds and
calculation of their anticipated values on the basis of the working
hypothesis
(e) Calculation of values of the same quantities under the most unfavourable
conditions compatible with the available data concerning the subsurface
conditions.
(f) Selection in advance of a course of action or modification of design for
every foreseeable significant deviation of the observational findings from
those predicted on the basis of the working hypothesis.
(g) Measurement of quantities to be observed and evaluation of actual
conditions.
(h) Modification of design to suit actual conditions.