Numerical Investigation of Rock Bridge Effect on Slope Stability using Bonded Block Modeling Method


Reliable estimation of rock mass strength is a challenging and essential task in rock engineering problems. Often this task is more complicated due to the presence of discontinuities, as the strength of jointed rock masses depends on both the strength of discontinuities and of the intact rock. The presence of rock bridges that are formed from a break in the persistence of discontinuities can have a significant impact on rock slope stability. Rock bridges hold an important role in determining the strength of the rock mass as the development of critical failure surfaces at the slope can partly happen along the discontinuities and partly through the intact rock component. In slope engineering applications, rock bridges often dictate the stability of rock slopes and present challenges to engineers in terms of their measurement in the field and incorporating them into design analysis. This paper employed the Bonded Block Modeling (BBM) technique in the framework of the distinct element method (DEM) to evaluate the effect of rock bridges on slope stability. The work analyzed the stability of a rock slope. Four case scenarios were investigated using the Universal Distinct Element Code (UDEC). The results estimated the factor of safety of the BBM models to be lower than the Mohr-Coulomb models. This is possibly due to the fact that the BBM allows crack generation and propagation through the rock bridge.

Meeting Name

54th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium (2020)


Mining Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 2020