Mines are our laboratories. Data about rock mass behaviour is an essential component in developing an understanding of the controlling mechanisms, and that is a requirement for developing reliable design criteria. Most research projects involve data collection, instrumentation installation and monitoring at mines, followed by analysis – typically using some of the following software:

Numerical stress analysis software

The following Itasca stress analysis codes are available for use on research projects:

  • FLAC – 2D continuum
  • UDEC – 2D discontinuum
  • FLAC3D – 3D continuum
  • 3DEC – 3D discontinuum
  • PFC2D – 2D micromechanics

Other significant software

  • MOTSI – seismic stress inversion software package
  • Voxler – 3D data visualization

Rock mechanics testing

In addition to the usual equipment for physical property testing (such as apparent bulk density, point load strength testing and Brazilian indirect tensile strength determination), the rock mechanics laboratory has two compression loading frames, including 880 kN and 4000 kN closed loop, electro-hydraulic stiff-testing machines and a 35 MPa capacity lateral pressure triaxial cell. The following equipment is also available for teaching, research, and commercial testing service applications:

  • direct shear testing equipment
  • laboratory sample preparation equipment including diamond saws for cutting rock blocks and cores
  • high capacity diamond drill and diamond lathing apparatus
  • AE monitoring system
  • P & S wave velocity determination