The computer simulation and prediction of rock fall
This thesis deals with the study of rock falls using a mathematical model, codified for computer use, entitled GeoFall. GeoFall, which was developed by the author, allows predictions to be made of rock fall trajectories, run out distances and kinetic energies for a rock of any arbitrary shape. Its main purpose is to assist in the design of remedial works. The mathematical model is based on rigid body mechanics, and analyses a fall in 2D space using a new theory of impact dynamics developed by Brach (1991). The main features and algorithms of the program are presented in this thesis. The performance of GeoFall was evaluated by comparing actual rock fall events described in several published papers with the output created by GeoFall. Also the output from GeoFall has been compared with the output from other rock fall simulation programs used to simulate the documented rockfalls. A new rock slope inventory system entitled the Rock Fall Risk Assessment System (RFRAS) has been developed by the author to determine the rock fall risk at specific rock fall sites. It consists of three phases of inspection, the slope survey, and the preliminary and detailed rating phases. The detailed rating phase uses 13 parameters that when assessed, evaluated and totalled, numerically differentiates slopes from the least to the most hazardous producing an overall rating in the range 21-1926. It not only allows the relative risk of rockfall between slopes to be assessed but it also categorises the rock fall risk and the potential number of future rockfalls. It has been tested on 18 slopes at ten locations in County Durham. The final part of the thesis details a new laboratory based procedure that can be used to determine the coefficients of restitution for any type of rock material. The normal coefficient of restitution has been determined for seven different types of rock, and the tangential coefficient of restitution has been determined for a local sandstone. Some tentative correlations between the normal coefficient of restitution and the rocks physical properties, such as its Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) have been presented.