It is assumed that anyone taking this course will have already successfully completed an introductory geology course. It is also assumed that courses in elementary calculus, statics and trigonometry have been completed. Since rock and soil mechanics share principles, it is advised that the student undertake a soil related course. Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering is a young engineering field and many of the pioneers are still involved in research. It is an exciting field and worth considering as a specialization for geologists, mining and civil engineers.
“Inspired by tunneling and excavations the study of rock mechanics has traditionally concentrated on laboratory tests, determining the mechanical constants and properties of rock specimens in the elastic and brittle fields.
The technological revolution of the past century has dramatically improved our methods for exploiting earth materials. Rock Mechanics is the theoretical and applied science of the mechanical behavior of rock; it is that branch of mechanics concerned with the response of rock to the force fields of its physical environment” Principle of Rock Mechanics – Weijermars.
The nature and behavior of rock in terms of strength and deformation is critical to determine its stability. This course aims to provide the engineer with the essential skills to evaluate these two parameters and consequently determine the appropriate form of ground control. After completion the students will be able to appreciate and identify geologic features that could have short and long-term consequences to the overall performance of various engineering structures and projects that they might encounter in their engineering careers, and how to quantify the effect of geologic features when considering rock-structure interaction.