Stability assessment of jointed rock slope with different crack infillings under various thermomechanical loadings

  • Pushpendra SharmaEmail author
  • Amit Kumar Verma
  • Anil Negi
  • Manish Kumar Jha
  • Pradeep Gautam
Original Paper


Thermoelastic deformation of rock significantly affects the stability of rock slope because thermoelastic strains may cause fracture propagation under favorable condition of failure. Rock slope stability depends on the balance between shear stress and shear resistance along the plane of weakness. Due to warming of rock slopes by heat transfer phenomena, viz. conduction and convection, considerable change in induced stresses (normal and shear) and resistance takes place which further causes instability in rock slope. In this paper, a two-dimensional finite element model has been used to simulate the stability of jointed rock slope containing crack in its upper surface. Four different cases have been simulated on the basis of infilling material (air, water, ice, water and ice) in the crack. Stability of rock slope is examined in terms of shear displacement and factor of safety for different thermal conditions of slope surface. A comparative study has been done for the four cases of infilling material in the crack. The various affecting parameters, viz. shear displacement, factor of safety, shear strength along the joint, and different surface temperature conditions, are illustrated by means of graphs. It has been found that the values of horizontal and vertical displacements are in the range of millimeters. The maximum values of horizontal and vertical displacements are 2.17 mm. Moreover, the maximum values of vertical compressive and tensile stresses are 15.4 MPa and 4.45 MPa respectively for the said four cases. According to the infilling material in the crack, the stability of the rock slope for the given geometry of slope is found in the following order: crack filled with ice < crack filled with ice and water < crack filled with water < empty crack. Validations of numerical results have been done from previous studies, and it has been found that the trends of normal stress, shear strength, and shear displacement along the joint are well matched.


Factor of safety Ice-filled crack Rock joint Crack Shear strength 



2-Dimensional finite element


Normal stress along the joint


Shear stress along the joint


Normal displacement along the joint


Shear displacement along the joint


Shear strength along the joint


Factor of safety


Depth of crack


Width of crack


Elastic modulus of rock


Density of rock


Poisson’s ratio of rock


Thermal conductivity of rock


Coefficient of thermal expansion for rock


Specific heat at constant pressure for rock


Friction angle for rock


Tensile strength of intact rock


Compressive strength of intact rock


Cohesion for rock


Elastic modulus of ice


Poisson’s ratio of ice


Density of ice


Thermal conductivity of ice


Specific heat for ice


Ratio of specific heat for ice


Coefficient of thermal expansion for ice


Convective heat transfer coefficient for air


Convective heat transfer coefficient for water


Funding information

The authors are thankful to the NRDMS program, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for providing the research grant (NRDMS/02/19/015/(G)) to carry out the study smoothly.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pushpendra Sharma
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amit Kumar Verma
    • 1
  • Anil Negi
    • 2
  • Manish Kumar Jha
    • 1
  • Pradeep Gautam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mining EngineeringIIT (ISM)DhanbadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Applied MathematicsIIT (ISM)DhanbadIndia

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