Companies require excavation design solutions to ensure commercial operational success, for the maintenance of health and safety of workforce and public, and for environmental reasons.
NCG's rock mechanics research team provides design and testing expertise to organisations making excavations in rock in the fields of:
- quarrying and tunnelling
- effects of rock failure in abandoned mines
Underground excavation and tunneling
The study of rock and the stability of excavations made in it has been a central theme of research at Nottingham for 40 years. It is unparalleled in any UK university. The longevity of the research theme is proof of a continuing industry requirement for specific solutions to specific problems, based on more general theoretical approaches.
Rock as an engineering material has variable characteristics dependent on the basic rock type, presence of stratification, and geological structural variations such as jointing and faulting or folding. Exposed rock weathers, allowing changes to its strength parameters. It may also be affected by groundwater. Rock excavations can be at great depth from the surface and thus subject to intense and complex stress fields. As a result, excavations often require support to remain stable. Support performance is a key feature of much of the stability work.
The Rock Mechanics team has become one of the foremost users of computer-based numerical modelling systems to analyse excavations in highly stressed, soft-rock conditions such as those surrounding coal mining excavations and rock formations exhibiting creep, such as those found in evaporite mining.