Application of Empirical Approaches to Design Rock Slopes in Mining and Civil Engineering Projects

Dr Abbas Taheri


The estimation of rock slope stability is required by the civil and mining engineering industries for a wide variety of projects, not only during the feasibility study but also during the excavation and operating stages. Rock mass classification systems are then essential to quickly and reliably estimate the stable angle of a required or existing slope or design the proper slope support system. Many rock mass classification systems have been developed in the past 100 years, motivated initially by the first tentative formalisations of tunnel design. A number of researchers have tried to correlate rock slope design with rock mass parameters. Many of these methods have been subsequently modified by others and are now currently being used for assessment the stability of rock slopes.

Even though many of available rock mass classification systems could be successfully applied in tunnelling and underground mining, most of them actually suffer from several limitations and shortcomings when it comes to rock slope problems. This lecture, in particular, discusses the problems in use of some well-known classification systems including RMR, SMR and MRMR in closely jointed rock masses and large-scale rock slopes which generally characterize a rock slope as non-structurally controlled.
The lecture shows how much empirical methods are applicable and useful in design of rock slopes in engineering projects and discusses the challenges engineers may face in implementing empirical approaches to evaluate stability of rock slopes. The lecture also presents some new classification systems which may be applied to design rock slopes in civil and mining engineering projects.

About Dr Abbas TaheriDr Abbas Taheri

Dr Abbas Taheri has over 15 years of industry, research and teaching experience in the field of mining engineering, rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering. Dr Taheri earned a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering from Yokohama National University, Japan in 2008. His PhD research project has internationally acknowledged as an outstanding research work and has been awarded a runner up certificate (Proxime Accessit) of “ISRM Rocha Medal 2010” from International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM). In 2008 he awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and joined Tokyo University of Science. In 2011 he appointed as a lecturer at the University of Adelaide.

Dr Taheri is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide. Since 2014, he is acting as Mining Engineering Programme program coordinator. Dr Taheri is a member of Editorial Board of “Soils and Foundations” and “Minerals” journals. He has produced more than 70 refereed publications.

Dr Taheri’s research interest is in the area of rock and soil material testing, modelling and characterization and also stability analysis of surface and underground excavations and exploration boreholes. He has undertaken/is currently undertaking several research projects related to geomaterial properties and behaviour in shallow and deep ground and soil improvement methods which the outcomes will provide the tools for more efficient, safer deep rock mining and improve the stability of geotechnical structures.

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