Prediction of the peak shear strength of the rock joints with artificial neural networks
With the development of computer technology, artificial neural networks are becoming increasingly useful in the field of engineering geology and geotechnics. With artificial neural networks, the geomechanical properties of rocks or their behaviour could be predicted under different stress conditions. Slope failures or underground excavations in rocks mostly occurred through joints, which are essential for the stability of geotechnical structures. This is why the peak shear strength of a rock joint is the most important parameter for a rock mass stability. Testing of the shear characteristics of joints is often time consuming and suitable specimens for testing are difficult to obtain during the research phase. The roughness of the joint surface, tensile strength and vertical load have a great influence on the peak shear strength of the rock joint. In the presented paper, the surface roughness of joints was measured with a photogrammetric scanner, and the peak shear strength was determined by the Robertson direct shear test. Based on six input characteristics of the rock joints, the artificial neural network, using a backpropagation learning algorithm, successfully learned to predict the peak shear strength of the rock joint. The trained artificial neural network predicted the peak shear strength for similar lithological and geological conditions with average estimation error of 6 %. The results of the calculation with artificial neural networks were compared with the Grasselli experimental model, which showed a higher error in comparison with the artificial neural network model.