Homework & exam



MNGN 321


Introductory Rock Mechanics


(2002 Fall)

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First Midterm





MNGN 321 - Introduction to Rock Mechanics

2002 Fall Semester - Course Outline


Instructor:  Dr. Ugur Ozbay

  Office: BB 221;  tel: (303) 273 3710;  email: mozbay@mines.edu



The course aims at students developing a good working understanding of the basic and fundamental principles of rock mechanics as applied to designing and stabilizing excavations in rock masses.



Rock mechanics is fundamental to a wide variety of geo-science/engineering disciplines, the major ones being mining, civil, geology, geophysics, and petroleum.  MNGN321 is structured around the objective of students from mining and other geo-engineering branches developing a sound understanding of basic principles of rock mechanics.  Applications of these principles to designing safe and economical structures in rock masses are also covered at an introductory level.


The course starts with introducing the concepts of stress, infinitesimal strain, and linear elasticity, which are the fundamentals to learning rock mechanics principles.  The objective here is also to provide a basis for formulating the loading and deformation processes that take place in rock mass.  The second section deals with failure of rock and rock masses.  The laboratory classes on rock testing are supplementary to these first two sections.  You should try to solve as many tutorial problems as you can to ensure that you are well equipped with a good knowledge of fundamental concepts to move on to the practice related subjects in the third and last section of the course.


The third section starts with describing rock mass as an engineering material.  It covers the methods of determining rock mass characteristics and classification systems.  The distribution of stress and deformations in the rock mass surrounding excavations are discussed.  Principles of designing underground structures are explained using the simple example of a circular excavation developed in a hydrostatic stress field.  Field excursions and in situ data collection exercises complement the subjects dealt with in this section.  The third section also includes applications.  The subject of excavation support is dealt with at both fundamental and application levels.  The stability analysis and design principles for rock slopes and mine pillars are discussed with the emphasis being on safety and economics.  Practical design exercises are carried out in the computer laboratory to help students to gain realistic insights to the rock engineering design processes.



You are responsible for knowing the material covered during lectures and laboratory classes.  You are also responsible for the materials in the lecture notes, laboratory handouts, and the problems following each module.  Reading the material to be lectured before you come to class can help you greatly in understanding subject.  At the completion of a module, assess yourself by returning to the module’s objectives to see whether you have achieved them.  If you feel that you have not accomplished the objectives, consult the references given or the books listed below.  If you are still unsure of any concept or require clarity or explanation, consult your TA or instructor.


Lecture material and books

A set of lecture notes will be available to the students at printing cost.  These notes, by and large, are sufficient for following the lectures.  However, it is likely that you will need further clarification and details than covered by the lecture notes and if that happens to be the case then you are advised to refer to the notes by E Hoek at the web site http://www.rockscience.com/roc/Hoek/Hoeknotes2000.htm or to buy the textbook Rock Mechanics for Underground Mining by B H G Brady and E T Brown, 2nd Edition, George Chapman and Hall.   Other books that could be useful and are kept at the library are Rock Slope Engineering by E Hoek and J W Bray (2nd Edition).  The book Fundamentals of Rock Mechanics by Jaeger and Cook, 3rd Edition is a “classic” that you may want to have it in your library if you are planning practicing rock mechanics/engineering.


Homework and Labs

There are about ten homework assignments and ten laboratory reports to be prepared.  The reports for these are due the next weekday after they are assigned and will be graded out of 20. Late assignments will be graded out of 10 marks, if submitted within week of due date.  No homework will be accepted one week before a midterm date as the solutions to homework problems are published at the MNGN321 web site.  The work submitted is expected to be of high standard in content, structure and presentation.  Hand written reports will not be accepted unless very special circumstances are proven.  Group studies are encouraged but only lab reports can be submitted as groups.  Identical homework and lab reports will not be graded.



There will be 2 Midterm exams and a final exam, all in Classroom BB125.  Midterm exam duration is normally one hour, although one and half midterm exams can also be set.  An exam covers the sections since the last exam.  The final exam is two hours and covers the entire course.



This year, the course has started using BlackBoard for easier communication between the students and instructors. Go to the web site http://blackboard.mines.edu to see if you are registered for the "Introductory Rock Mechanics" site. The answers to the homework assignments and exam questions are published through BlackBoard. You should check the Blackboard utility also for announcements and other course related administrative issues such as details of modifications to field trips, laboratory classes, and lectures.



Grade breakdown:

10 Homeworks                        200

10 Labs                                    200

  2 Midterms (each 150)           300

Final exam                                300

                        Total               1000

Grade scale:

                  A ³ 87.5    87.5 > B ³75       75> C ³ 62.5               62.5 > D ³ 50                    50 > F


2002 Fall Schedule

The course schedule is published at http://www.mines.edu/fs_home/mozbay/321Schedule02F.htm.