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Method for Direct Shear Test on a Rock Joint

1 Scope

This standard test method covers the determination of the engineering (strength) properties for a rock joint as the
slope, foundation, tunnel and underground cavity. Especially, this test method is conducted by the direct shear test
using shear box, it differs from the designation JGS 3511-2004 ‘Method for In-situ Direct Shear Test on Rocks’.

2 Normative Reference

The following referenced articles are indispensable for the application of this method. The newest version of the
following designation shall apply to this test method.

JGS 3821-2006 Method for investigation on geometrical information of discontinuity distribution in rock mass

3 Definitions

This standard uses the terms defined as follows.

a) Discontinuity: A weak plane in the form of joint, bedding, etc., which disturbs the mechanical continuity of
rock material, and whose tensile strength is either nil or negligible.

b) Roughness: Geometrical roughness on the surface of a discontinuity.

c) Infilling: A material which is used to fill a gap created by a discontinuity.

d) Maximum shear strength: Maximum value of shear stress.

e) Residual shear strength: Constant value of shear stress after showing maximum shear strength.

f) Sample: Rock material of boring core and sampling of blocked shape. It contained a rock joint as a shear
plane.

g) Specimen: Modified sample as setting in a shear box.

h) Angle of shear resistance: Inclination of Coulomb’s failure line on the relationship between normal stress and
shear stress.

i) Cohesion of rock joint: Y-Intercept of Coulomb’s failure line on the relationship between normal stress and
shear stress.

4 Test Apparatus

Test apparatus is as follows.

4.1 Shear Box

Shear box is divided a moving box and fixed box on boundary of shear plane. Its two parts doesn’t contact each
other. Moving box moves parallel to the fixed box. It has enough stiffness under the applied load.

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4.2 Apparatus for Loading

Apparatus for loading is as follows.

a) Normal loading apparatus: The apparatus should be able to apply and control a normal load during shear. It
has enough stiffness under the applied load.

Note: The apparatus consists of loading apparatus and axis. The loading apparatus is able to control the
normal load. The position of applied normal load is set at the canter of a specimen.

b) Shear loading apparatus: The apparatus should be able to apply and control a shear load. It also should be
able to move in parallel against a shear plane. It has enough stiffness under the applied load.

Note: The apparatus consists of loading apparatus and axis. The loading apparatus is able to control the shear
load. A couple of force does not occur in shearing as possible.

c) Guide for shear box: The apparatus sets that a moving shear box smoothly moves parallel to the fixed box.

Note: The apparatus consists of sliding parts such as stiffness roller. apparatus and axis. The loading
apparatus is able to control the shear load. A couple of force does not occur in shearing as possible.

d) Reaction frame: Normal loading apparatus, shear loading apparatus and guide for shear box are fixed in the
reaction frame. It has enough stiffness for the forces acting on these apparatus.

e) Load meter: Normal load and expected shear load should be measured with an accuracy of ±1% of the each
maximum load of the specimen.

f) Displacement transducer: Expected normal and shear displacement should be measured with an accuracy
of ±1% of the each maximum displacement of the specimen.

4.3 Other Equipment

a) Measurement equipment of joint roughness: The equipment should be able to measure the joint
roughness.

Note: a counter gauge, contact and non-contacted displacement transducer

b) Specimen size measurement tools: Specimen size measurement tools should be able to measure the
specimen with an accuracy of or better than 0.1mm.

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Fig. 2 An example for the test apparatus.

5 Test Specimen

The specimen should be cut and trimmed from the extracted sample so that the discontinuity might correspond to
the shear plane, and then the specimen should be firmly fixed into the shear boxes. In the case that the sample
and the shear boxes do not fit to each other, the fixing material, such as mortar, plaster or resin, should be adopted
to prevent any extra movement.

5.1 Measurement and observation on the sample and specimen

a) Measurement of the area of the shear plane: Measure the area of the shear plane of the specimen;
Note: The area of the shear plane in a regular shape can be obtained from the measured dimensions. The
area of the shear plane in a irregular shape can be obtained as the area of the traced shape on a paper sheet,
which is measured with a planimeter, for example.
b) Measurement of the roughness of the discontinuity: Observe the features of the discontinuity carefully, and
measure the roughness of the discontinuity; and
For reference: It is desirable to measure the roughness along some measuring lines with an appropriate tool
or device, such as a contour gauge or a set of non-contact type displacement gauges, if possible.
c) Other measurement: Record the features of the discontinuity before and after the loading of the shear force
as the sketches or the photographs, if necessary.

5.2 Fixing of the sample

a) The sample should be bound temporarily before the complete fixing so as to go in the shear boxes suitably and
not to slip along the discontinuity;
b) The strength of the fixing material should be more than that of the discontinuity, and be the same as that of the
intact material of the sample or more;
c) The discontinuity should be kept away from the fixing material; and

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d) The sample should be fixed in the shear boxes so that the discontinuity might be parallel to the shear direction
and be at the center of the opening between both the shear boxes (Refer to Figure 2).

Shear box
(stationary frame)
Sample Specimen (consists of sample
Fixing material
and fixing material)

Discontinuity
Shear box
(movable frame)

Leading device for shear box

Fig. 2 An example for the fixed sample with the fixing material.

5.3 Shape and dimensions of the specimen

a) The height of both the upper and lower halves of the specimen should be adjusted as approximately the same;
b) The shape of the specimen should be suitable for the stable loading of the normal force and the shear force;
and
c) The area of the shear plane should be 1,900 mm2 or larger.

5.4 Number of the specimens

The number of the specimens for a single test sequence should be three or more. All the specimens should be
made from the discontinuities which have the same features.
Note 1: It is impossible to obtain the completely same specimens. The samples for the specimens should be
extracted from the same discontinuity and should have the same features.
Note 2: The different discontinuities which have the same features are also available for the specimens in a single
test sequence.

6 Test Procedure

Test procedure is as follows:

6.1 Preparations

a) Arrangement of the specimen: Arrange the specimen into the test apparatus; and
Note 1: The mesh of the upper and lower halves should be same as the initial state. If the specimen has been
bound temporarily, the binding articles should be removed.
Note 2: The shear direction should be decided according to the purpose of the test.
b) Arrangement of the displacement gauges: Arrange the displacement gauges for the relative displacement

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between the halves of the specimen, for the normal and shear directions.
Note: The positions and number of the displacement gauges for the normal and shear directions should agree
with the loading system of the normal and shear forces.
For reference: In some cases, the specimen rotates or inclines according to the mechanisms of the test
apparatus. In such cases, it is desirable to arrange the displacement gauges so as to indicate such the
deformation characteristics.

6.2 Loading of the normal force

Load the predetermined normal force slowly to the specimen. The normal force for each of the specimens should
be different to that for each other specimen. Measure the normal displacement during the loading process for the
normal force.
Note: The confinement of the shear boxes should be removed before loading.

6.3 Loading of the shear force

a) Loading of the shear force: Start to load the shear force under the predetermined normal force to be kept. At
the same time, start the measurement of the normal and shear force with the load cells, and also start the
measurement of the normal and shear displacement with the displacement gauges; and
Note 1: Both the displacement controlled loading and the load controlled loading are available for the loading
of the shear force.
Note 2: Generally speaking, the shear force should be increased continuously at a fixed rate of shear
displacement. On the other hand, the stepwise loading is also available. The fixed rate of shear displacement
should be 0.1 mm/min or less.
Note 3: The normal force, the shear force, the normal displacement and the shear displacement should be
recorded at appropriate intervals until the predetermined shear displacement is reached.
Note 4: The intervals for the monitors of the measuring devices and the recording should be given according to
the rate of shear displacement.
Note 5: When the specimen rotates or inclines according to the mechanisms of the test apparatus, such the
deformation characteristics should be measured precisely with the multiple displacement gauges, and then the
average displacement should be calculated.
b) End of the loading of the shear force.
Note: The Shear force should be removed at first, and then the normal force should be removed.
For reference: Generally speaking, the loading of the shear force is stopped when the predetermined shear
displacement is reached. The predetermined shear displacement is 5.0 mm or 10.0 mm, for example, or 5
through 10 percent of the length of the discontinuity in the shear direction.

7 Arrangement of Test Results

d) Calculation of normal and shear stresses: Obtain the normal stress σ n and shear stress τ using the
following formula:
σn=Pn/A, [MN/m2]
τ=Ps/A.  [MN/m2]
Here, Ps, Pn and A are the shear force (N), normal force (N), and the area of shear surface before loading

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(mm2), respectively;
e) Graphic representation of the process of shear loading: For each specimen tested, draw diagrams
showing the relation between the shear displacement and the shear stress as well as the relation between the
shear displacement and the normal displacement;
f) Graphic representation of the process of normal loading: Draw a diagram showing the relation between
the normal displacement and the normal stress in the process of normal loading;
g) Identification of the maximum shear strength: Identify the maximum shear strength as the maximum of the
shear stress in the process of shear loading (Refer to Figures 3 and 4);
h) Identification of the residual shear strength: Identify the residual shear strength as the constant shear
stress after passing the maximum shear strength in the process of shear loading (Refer to Figures 3 and 4);
For reference: If the shear stress does not become constant, the residual shear strength is in many cases
identified as the shear stress at the time the shear loading increment is stopped.
i) Graphic representation of the maximum and residual shear strengths: After the above-mentioned
arrangements a)-e) for all specimens, depict for the all test results the relation between the maximum shear
strength and the normal stress as well as the relation between the residual shear strength and the normal
stress; and
j) Calculation of the angle of shear resistance and the cohesion: On the diagram drawn in f), individually for
the maximum shear strength and the residual shear strength, draw a straight line approximately connecting the
points expressing the test results using the method of least squares. Obtain the angle of shear resistance of the
discontinuity as the inclination of this straight line and the cohesion of the discontinuity as the intercept on the
vertical axis.

Shear loading is
stopped.
Shear stress

Maximum
shear strength
Residual shear
strength

Shear displacement
Fig. 3 The maximum shear strength and the residual shear strength in the case the maximum shear stress
is explicitly observed.

Shear loading is
stopped.
Shear stress

Maximum and residual


shear strengths
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Shear displacement
Fig. 4 The maximum shear strength and the residual shear strength in the case the maximum shear stress
is not explicitly observed.

8 Reporting

Report the following details:

8.1 Samples

If more than one sample with different discontinuities are examined, report the following for each sample tested.

c) Origin: Site name, location, depth and date of extraction;


d) Rock type;
For reference: It is desirable to also indicate the stratum name.
e) Sample extracting method;
f) Conditions of the discontinuity in situ;
Note: Describe the conditions of the discontinuity according to JGS 3821-2006 "Method for investigation into
the geometrical distribution of discontinuities in rock mass."
g) Observation of the sample.
Note: Describe the properties and conditions of infilling, and if possible, the history of shear deformation in the
past.

8.2 Specimens

a) Method of preparation;
b) Shape, size, and area of the shear surface;
c) Roughness of the discontinuity;
d) Observation of the specimen: Properties and conditions of infilling, other features, etc.
For reference: It is desirable to attach a photograph.
e) Fixing material: Material properties, strength, etc.

8.3 Test results

a) Test method;
b) Loading method;
Note 1: Describe the loading speed of normal and shear forces.
Note 2: If necessary, describe on sketches and photographs the shear direction and the history of shear

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deformation in the past.
c) Normal stress-normal displacement diagram, shear stress-shear displacement diagram and normal
displacement-shear displacement diagram;
d) Maximum and residual shear strengths
Note: Indicate the normal stress, normal displacement and shear displacement corresponding to each shear
strength.
e) Conditions of the discontinuity after fracture;
Note: Attach sketches or photographs.
f) Shear strength-normal stress diagram, angle of shear resistance and cohesion of the discontinuity;
g) Other information: If a method partially different from this standard is used, describe its contents.

8.4 Other remarkable information