Numerical modelling has become one of the most widely used design tools in geomechanics and rock engineering. While numerical modelling has undergone substantial and rapid change in recent decades, there have been comparatively small advances in the methodologies for data collection and the parameterization of rock masses that are required input for numerical models. The data-limited nature of geomechanical engineering often results in high degrees of uncertainty in design input.
Unfortunately, this uncertainty is too commonly lost (or forgotten) somewhere between numerical data input and result output. Perhaps this is due to the reliance on numerical ‘black-boxes’ to generate computations with little or no requirement for users to truly understand the underlying formulations. Or, perhaps it is the sophisticated, high-resolution graphics that project numerical results, which enable users to somehow, perhaps subconsciously, negate the transfer of uncertainty from design input to design output. Oversight of inherent parametric uncertainty in geomechanics and rock engineering can lead to unforeseen fatal flaws in safety and economics decision-making.
A solution to data limitations and parametric uncertainty is systematic model calibration. The back analysis of observed ground reaction is fundamental to achieving confidence in numerical modelling output. Any numerical simulations, with the exception of green-field studies (which must instead rely on thorough sensitivity testing), should have some degree of model calibration. There is a broad spectrum in the level of calibration detail that can be achieved, from qualitative ground response matching to sophisticated quantitative calibration. The rigor and detail of calibration is dictated by the available observations and measures of ground reaction.
The state-of-practice in numerical simulations for geomechanical engineering applications must demand numerical model calibration. RockEng has extensive experience in model calibration. We utilize rigorous and comprehensive calibration techniques suitable for different types of ground reaction data, ranging from qualitative visual observations to quantitative instrumentation and micro-seismic data.