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Rock Mechanics Introduction

At the beginning of our lives, during our first foray into science, we learn the basic concepts of geology. For some of us, that is enough to start a lifelong fascination with the way the earth is formed, both above and below. The study of rock mechanics is based on that knowledge with an understanding of what happens with rock formations in various conditions.

What is rock mechanics?

The Rock Mechanics Committee of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States defines rock mechanics as "the theoretical and applied science of the mechanical behavior of rock. It is that branch of mechanics related to the response of the rock to the force fields of its physical environment. "

It is the field of study that overlaps other sciences, such as geology, soil mechanics and geophysics. The fundamentals of rock mechanics include the behavior of the rock, the response of the rock mass, the flow, the chemistry and the coupled behavior. Some of these, such as the response of the rock mass, can be simulated in a laboratory or studied through theoretical models of field data.

How are rocks distorted?

When the rocks are under tension, they can be deformed by fracture. There are three types of stress that can cause deformation. These include stretching (tension tension), compression (tension compression) and sliding (tension of cut). Different types of rocks respond to stressors in different ways.

Clay-based formations, for example, have a high degree of elasticity and can be remodeled under pressure without breaking. On the other hand, rocks such as quartz and feldspar are extremely fragile and can fracture easily when stressed.

Fragile fractures are explained through Griffith's Theory, which suggests that cracks inherent in rock formation, when put under pressure, can cause a phenomenon called "rock burst". This is a characteristic feature of excavation sites and in cases of severe compression stress.

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