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2016/17 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5045M Rock Engineering

30 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Dr Mark Hildyard

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2016/17


SOEE5030MSoils Engineering

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE5047MRock Mechanics

Module replaces

SOEE5040M Rock Engineering and Tunnelling

This module is not approved as an Elective


- To describe rocks and rock masses in a quantitative manner;
- To describe the internal state of an element of rock in terms of stress and strain, and the mechanical behaviour of rock in terms of the relationship between stress and strain;
- To understand elasticity theory and its limitations ;
- To understand theories of rock failure;
- To understand and describe the state of stress around underground openings;
- To gain practical experience in applying numerical models;
- To appreciate the strengths and limitations of numerical models in interpreting stress and strain and failure around underground openings;
- To devise a testing program for the characterisation of rock materials;
- To use appropriate rock mass classification schemes to give first order design parameters for design, and to be aware of the limitations of such methodologies;
- To be capable of carrying out suitable stability analyses for surface and underground structures.


1. Stress analysis in two dimensions: tractions, internal state of stress, stress rotation, principal stresses; Mohr's circle. Strain analysis in two dimensions: Mohr circle; strain gauges and Rosette theory. Stress and strain in three dimensions.
2. Behaviour of materials; deformation under stress, full stress-strain relationship in rock; elasticity theory and elastic constants; anisotropy; non-elastic behaviour.
3. Brittle fracture; laboratory tests; acoustic emissions; ISRM standards; fracture criteria, Coulomb-Navier, Mohr, Griffiths, tensile strain.
4. The state of stress in a rockmass; stress fields around underground openings; Kirsch equations for circular openings; lining pressures, rock anisotropy, in situ stress measurement; support and pillars;
5. Practical numerical modelling. Hands-on experience with using three continuum codes (commercial codes RS2 and FLAC, and research code WAVE) to investigate simple rock mechanics problems. Influence of Boundary conditions; resolution; stress state around underground openings; modelling failure; localisation; path dependence;
6. Laboratory analysis. Uniaxial tests, triaxial tests, acoustic emissions; Determining UCS, elastic moduli, parameters in failure laws.
7. Rock mass classification, NGI Q index, RMR, GSI and other classification schemes, limitations of rock mass classification, foundations on rock.
8. Rock slope stability analysis, kinematics and limit equilibrium methods.
Outline Syllabus :
9. Tunnelling, tunnel support, NATM and tunnelling methods in soft ground.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning165.0065.00
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours180.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- Directed reading for lectures: 80 hours
- self-study completing problem-solving tutorials: 18 hours
- self-study completing modelling practicals: 12 hours
- Laboratory analysis and reflective review: 10 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Problem solving tutorials; practicals; in-class discussions.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PracticalAssessed in-class modelling practical5.00
Group ProjectUnderground design project20.00
Tutorial PerformanceAssessed in-class tutorial5.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/04/2016


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