An Improved Computing Method for 3D Mechanical Connectivity Rates Based on a Polyhedral Simulation Model of Discrete Fracture Network in Rock Masses

Mingchao Li, Shuai Han, Sibao Zhou, Ye Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a 3D model of a discrete fracture network (DFN) in a rock mass, an improved projective method for computing the 3D mechanical connectivity rate was proposed. The Monte Carlo simulation method, 2D Poisson process and 3D geological modeling technique were integrated into a polyhedral DFN modeling approach, and the simulation results were verified by numerical tests and graphical inspection. Next, the traditional projective approach for calculating the rock mass connectivity rate was improved using the 3D DFN models by (1) using the polyhedral model to replace the Baecher disk model; (2) taking the real cross section of the rock mass, rather than a part of the cross section, as the test plane; and (3) dynamically searching the joint connectivity rates using different dip directions and dip angles at different elevations to calculate the maximum, minimum and average values of the joint connectivity at each elevation. In a case study, the improved method and traditional method were used to compute the mechanical connectivity rate of the slope of a dam abutment. The results of the two methods were further used to compute the cohesive force of the rock masses. Finally, a comparison showed that the cohesive force derived from the traditional method had a higher error, whereas the cohesive force derived from the improved method was consistent with the suggested values. According to the comparison, the effectivity and validity of the improved method were verified indirectly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1789-1800
Number of pages12
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • 3D mechanical connectivity rate
  • Comprehensive shear strength
  • Discrete fracture network
  • Improved projective computing method
  • Rock mass structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology

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