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Optimisation of Cushion Materials for Rockfall Protection Galleries


Rockfalls of various magnitudes occur regularly in mountainous regions and Switzerland is no exception. Protection galleries made either of reinforced concrete or pre-stressed concrete members, with a cushion material laid on top, are used to prevent rockfalls that lie within the prevalent range from damaging infrastructure and lifelines. They require the greatest care in developing the general concept of design and construction, considering the ductility requirements of the structure and the selection of material for the energy absorbing cushion layer. The design of the gallery is dependent upon the impact force selected as the "action" and the corresponding penetration depth of the falling rock into the cushion material. The design limit for protection galleries in Switzerland to resist a nominal impact event is 3 MJ (ASTRA, 2003). Main aim of this reaesrch is to increase the energy absorbing capacity of the rock protection galleries using new cushion materials and also improving the existing design methods. This work on cushion materials for rockfall protection galleries is divided into experimental, numerical and analytical modelling of a rockfall event at prototype energies. Prototype energy scenarios are simulated in the centrifuge using small-scale models, which are exposed to enhanced gravity to replicate a full-scale event, by taking advantage of well-proven scaling laws. Impact energy conditions are varied (up to 20 MJ) and detailed impact stress distributions on top of a gallery are measured using state-of-the-art measuring units under defined boundary conditions. A systematic variation in the system parameters such as mass, fall height, impact angle of the rock boulder, type and thickness of the cushion material and finally the type of construction of the cushion material are varied. New ideas for cushioning materials for damping the impact on top of the galleries are also investigated. Laboratory investigations supplement the modelling, to determine the damping parameters of cushioning materials as well as the integrity and response of the boulder and the associated parameters. The physical modelling is also supported by numerical and analytical modelling on the overall behaviour of the system, and the local behaviour at the point of impact. Finite element modelling using LS-DYNA is carried out at prototype stress levels varying key parameters influencing and determining the stresses induced in the gallery. Analytical model using lumped parameters such as spring, dashpot and slider is carried out to address the cushion material behaviour under rock boulder impact and to determine the impact force acting on the gallery and the penetration of the rock boulder into the cushion mateial. Preliminary guidelines have been presented based on the investigations carried out and using analytical model for a practising engineer. New cushion materials and methods of laying have been identified and investigated for better damping of the rock boulder impact energy and thereby improving the energy absorbing capacity of the gallery.


Chikatamarla, Ravikiran

Index Terms:

Soil; natural hazards; Protection Structures; Cushion materials; SoilGroup; Chikatamarla, Ravikiran


Referentin: Springman S.M.

Publisher: Vdf Verlag hier

Further Information:

Date published: 2005