Hydromechanical Behaviour of Fractures Close to Tunnels in Crystalline Rock
Licentiate thesis, 2013

The deformation and stiffness properties of rock fractures are important measurable parameters when describing their hydromechanical behaviour. Deformation refers to aperture change. Stiffness refers to the amount of deformation per stress change to which a fracture is subjected. This thesis aims to investigate the stiffness and deformation behaviour of fractures in crystalline rock through in situ and laboratory experiments. The focus in this work is on fracture geometry due to geological stress history. This will result in increased conceptual understanding and accordance between hydromechanical and geomechanical fracture description and behaviour. The in situ measurements consisted of deformation measurements in boreholes and were conducted at the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory (HRL) and in the Hallandsås Tunnel. The total deformation across the instrumented borehole sections was measured as an effect of hydraulic pressurisation of the fractures in the nearby rock volume. The results were assessed in terms of deformation and fracture stiffness. The laboratory experiments were conducted as cyclically loaded permeameter measurements of fractured rock core samples from Äspö HRL with simultaneous deformation measurements across the fracture. The tested samples had various geological properties and revealed differences in hydraulic aperture and mechanical deformation behaviour across the experimental cycles. The stiffness to hydraulic aperture relationship followed a trend identified in the literature and deviations were given plausible explanations related to the geology and geometry of the samples. The results were discussed in the light of the sampled geology and the measurement methods. The measured deformations and corresponding stiffness were found to be reasonable in the light of available knowledge of the local geology and stress situation at the sites.

Fracture stiffness

Fracture geometry

Laboratory experiments

Äspö HRL

Rock stress

In situ

Deformation measurement


Hydromechanical coupling

Geological history

Opponent: Docent Sven Follin, SF GeoLogic


Johan Thörn

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, GeoEngineering

Hydromechanical characterization of fractures close to a tunnel opening: A case study

Eurock2012, 28-30 May, Stockholm, Sweden,; (2012)

Paper in proceedings

Fracture Deformation Measurements during Grouting in Hard Rock

Geotechnical Special Publication,; (2012)p. 836-845

Paper in proceedings

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering

Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Lic - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology: 2013:5


Opponent: Docent Sven Follin, SF GeoLogic

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