By C. R. Scott

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This will complement the earlier one which was compiled in 1981 [24]. At our last meeting of the ISRM Testing Methods Commission in Chester, UK, in 1 992, it was decided that the development of the ISRM testing methods will be generated by the systems approach which was described earlier - in order to provide a coherent framework for deciding which properties should be selected for a Suggested Method document. Also it was decided that the test methods should consist of a technical Part A and interpretative Part B.

This is probably because in some cases statistics can definitely be an advantage and in other cases statistical procedures can be misleading. If there is a situation where a particular rock property is to be established at a certain confidence level to a certain precision level and we understand the population of values then statistics can be directly valuable in establishing how many measurements have to be made. This certainly is the case for most of the point properties listed in Table 3. Also, if rock properties are being used in a formula or a rock mass classification scheme, then we could consider what effect some variation in a particular rock property could have on the final effect with the use of random variables and a sensitivity analysis.

An interesting case to consider is four sets of discontinuities in a rock mass, each parallel to a separate face of a regular tetrahedron, as shown in Figure 16. When one considers a line at all orientations through a rock mass containing such a set of discontinuities and then plots the discontinuity frequency contours on a stereographic projection, the diagram in the lower part of Figure 16 is produced. Thus, one sees that the variation in discontinuity frequency can become complex very rapidly.

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An introduction to soil mechanics and foundations by C. R. Scott
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