Single-Course 5 ECTS

Principles of Rock Mechanics

Overall Course Objectives

To obtain an integrated knowledge related to physical and mechanical rocks properties in order to a) carry out classification and basic field- and laboratory testing and b) analyse and evaluate the obtained results for applications in simple constructions.

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Learning Objectives

  • Describe processes of rock formation and perform geological classification of most common rock types
  • Calculate physical classification parameters and index properties of an intact rock, such as porosity, density, permeability, slaking and durability, sonic velocity
  • Analyse and evaluate labroatory test results used to measure stress-strain properties
  • Describe different modes of failure and stress-strain behaviours for intact rock and identify adequate failure criteria
  • Describe effects of discontinuities and joints in a rock mass and related parameters, such as orientation, testing, roughness, spacing, persistence, the effect of water pressure, flow and wave transmission
  • Calculate parameters describing rock mass properties, such as rock quality designation, Q-System, rock mass rating, geological strength index
  • Calculate initial field stresses for a rock mass based on the most common techniques
  • Calculate slope stability by equilibrium analysis
  • Calculate slope stability to sliding based on stereographic projections

Course Content

1) Nature of rocks and intact index properties: geological classification, porosity, density, permeability, slaking, durability, sonic velocity.
2) Thermo-mechanical properties of intact rock: (i) stress-strain properties (linear and nonlinear elasticity, isotropy and anisotropy, inelastic behavior, lab measurement techniques); (ii) Thermal properties; and (iii) Strength properties (failure modes, fracture, common strength tests, Mohr-Coulomb, Griffith and von Mises, Hoek-Brown, effect of water, size effect, anisotropy)
3) Joints and discontinuities: orientation, testing, roughness, spacing, persistence, the effect of water pressure, flow and sound wave transmission.
4) Rock mass classification: rock quality designation, Q-System, rock mass rating, geological strength index.
5) In situ stresses and rock mass characterization: influence and estimation, field measurement techniques
6) Slope engineering: modes of failure of slope in hard rock, rack-fall analysis, analysis of plane sliding of the stereographic projection, analysis of wedge sliding using stereographic projection, analysis of slides composed of two blocks.

Recommended prerequisites

11411/11441, Basic material properties: density, strength, stiffness

Teaching Method

Lectures, case studies and exercises


Limited number of seats

Minimum: 10.

Please be aware that this course will only be held if the required minimum number of participants is met. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether the course will be held.

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13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12431
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Tues 8-12

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more