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Title: A proposed framework for characterising uncertainty and variability in rock mechanics and rock engineering
Author: Bedi, Anmol
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 5887
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis develops a novel understanding of the fundamental issues in characterising and propagating unpredictability in rock engineering design. This unpredictability stems from the inherent complexity and heterogeneity of fractured rock masses as engineering media. It establishes the importance of: a) recognising that unpredictability results from epistemic uncertainty (i.e. resulting from a lack of knowledge) and aleatory variability (i.e. due to inherent randomness), and; b) the means by which uncertainty and variability associated with the parameters that characterise fractured rock masses are propagated through the modelling and design process. Through a critical review of the literature, this thesis shows that in geotechnical engineering – rock mechanics and rock engineering in particular – there is a lack of recognition in the existence of epistemic uncertainty and aleatory variability, and hence inappropriate design methods are often used. To overcome this, a novel taxonomy is developed and presented that facilitates characterisation of epistemic uncertainty and aleatory variability in the context of rock mechanics and rock engineering. Using this taxonomy, a new framework is developed that gives a protocol for correctly propagating uncertainty and variability through engineering calculations. The effectiveness of the taxonomy and the framework are demonstrated through their application to simple challenge problems commonly found in rock engineering. This new taxonomy and framework will provide engineers engaged in preparing rock engineering designs an objective means of characterising unpredictability in parameters commonly used to define properties of fractured rock masses. These new tools will also provide engineers with a means of clearly understanding the true nature of unpredictability inherent in rock mechanics and rock engineering, and thus direct selection of an appropriate unpredictability model to propagate unpredictability faithfully through engineering calculations. Thus, the taxonomy and framework developed in this thesis provide practical tools to improve the safety of rock engineering designs through an improved understanding of the unpredictability concepts.
Supervisor: Harrison, John P. ; Collins, Gareth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available