Rock mechanics

Academic year
Subject Area
Geological and Mining Engineering
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Engineering Geology, Mineralogy and Petrology, Numerical Methods.

Teaching Methods

The theoretical classes consist on a detailed exposition, through audio-visual means, of concepts, principals and fundamental theories with practical examples. Theoretical-practical classes where the students, under supervision of the teacher, solve problems of practical application. Laboratorial classes with execution of laboratorial and situ tests, with analysis of results.

Learning Outcomes

To provide the students with main concepts of the mechanical behavior of rock materials and rock masses. Study of strength and deformability of rock materials. Physical and dynamic test execution and results analysis. Geotechnical zonation mapping. Study of geotechnical problems in civil engineering works on rock masses. Use of geomechanical classifications (Bieniawski and Barton). Introduction to numerical methods for the stress analysis of rock masses. Application of the Hoek-Brown failure criterion. Site characterization in rock engineering projects.

Work Placement(s)



Theoretical program

1. Discontinuity characterization.

2. Study of the mechanical behavior of rock materials.

3. Study of rock strength. Uniaxial and triaxial compressive strength tests. Tensile strength. Point load and Schmidt hammer tests. Ultrasonic velocity tests. Rock joint shear tests. Characterization of deformability and permeability.

4. Geomechanical classifications systems.

5. Stresses in rock masses.

6. Numerical methods in stress analysis.

7. Use of the Hoek-Brown failure criterion. Use of software programs Site characterization in rock engineering projects.

Theoretical-Practical program + Practical program

1. Geotechnical problems of engineering works.

2. Study of discontinuities.

3.  Study of stress and strain of rock material.

4. Execution and analysis of laboratorial and in situ tests.

5. Use of geomechanical classifications.

Assessment Methods

final examination: 30.0%
execution and analysis of laboratorial and in situ tests : 70.0%


Hoek, E. (2007) - Practical Rock Engineering, disponível em:

Vallejo, L.G.; Ferrer, M.; Ortuño, L. & Oteo, C. (2002) - Ingeniería Geológica. Prentice Hall.

Andrade, P.S. (2008) - Estudo das principais características das descontinuidades. DCT – FCTUC.

Hudson, J. A. & Harrinson, J.P. (1997) - Engineering Rock Mechanics. An introduction to the principles. Pergamon.

Rocha, M. (1981) - Mecânica das Rochas. LNEC.