Development of a shear-flow test apparatus and determination of coupled properties for a single rock joint

T. Esaki, S. Du, Y. Mitani, K. Ikusada, L. Jing

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297 Citations (Scopus)


A new laboratory technique for coupled shear-flow tests of rock joints was developed and used to investigate the coupled effect of joint shear deformation and dilatancy on hydraulic conductivity of rock joints. This technique was used to carry out coupled shear-flow tests with an artificial created granite joint sample under constant normal loads and up to residual shear deformations of 20 mm. The hydraulic conductivity was estimated by using a finite difference method and an approximate equation assuming the cubic law. The shear-flow testing results revealed that the change of hydraulic conductivity is approximately similar to that of the dilatancy of a joint. The hydraulic conductivity increases rapidly, by about 1.2-1.6 orders of magnitude for the first 5 mm of shear displacement. After passing the residual shear stress, the hydraulic conductivity becomes gradually a constant value with increasing shear displacement. On the other hand, the hydraulic conductivity after shearing is about one order of magnitude larger than that prior to shearing. Shear-flow coupling characteristics obtained from these tests have a consistent trend with Barton's model prediction during the initial shear process. However, increasing deviation between measured and predicted hydraulic conductivity of rock joint samples has been observed with increasing shear displacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-650
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Engineering


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