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UK professor to lecture on unsolved problems in Rock Mechanics

The subject of rock mechanics has existed as a discipline for over 50 years and many theoretical and practical problems have been solved. However, some of the most basics aspects of rock mechanics are still intractable.
For example, can we adequately measure the in situ rock stress, required as a boundary condition for our computer modelling?
Therefore, UK professor John A. Hudson, who is also president of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, will be lecturing at the University of Macau tomorrow afternoon from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
The summary of his lecture says that a “rock is not a continuum, it is a discontinuum, so are we able to characterise the fractures sufficiently for engineering design? And, as a corollary, given that water flow through crystalline rock masses is governed by the fractures, are we able to specify the connectivity of an in situ fracture network?”
Over the last two decades, a variety of sophisticated numerical models have been developed, but do these represent the rock reality? Can we depend on them? There is no international procedure for auditing their input, operation and output.
However, despite these gaps in the supporting discipline of rock mechanics, one is still able to
adequately engineer structures built on and in rock masses, so is this detailed rock mechanics
knowledge actually necessary for rock engineering?
Can one engineer oneself out of any hazards that might arise during construction?
These issues and the future for rock mechanics and rock engineering will be discussed in the context of
engineering design and construction tomorrow afternoon at the Auditorium of the Library of the University of Macau.

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