A Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy model for predicting the clean rock joints shear strength

Abstract It is well known that learning about the mechanical behavior of a fractured rock mass depends on the shear behavior of its discontinuities. Several studies have shown that the shear behavior of unfilled rock discontinuities depends on their boundary conditions, roughness characteristics and the properties of the joints walls. Currently, there are several analytical models that can be used to predict the shear behavior of clean rock joints. However, they are all purely deterministic in nature because their input variables are defined without considering the uncertainties inherent in the formative process of the rock mass and the discontinuity itself, i.e., they need an auxiliary tool to consider the variability of their parameters such as the Monte Carlo or Point Estimation Methods. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present a model to predict the shear strength of clean rock joints incorporating uncertainties in the variables that govern their shear behavior with a zero-order Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy controller. The model is developed based on the results of 44 direct shear tests carried out on different joints. The model input variables are the normal boundary stiffness and initial normal stress acting on the joint, its roughness expressed by the JRC value, the uniaxial compressive strength and basic friction angle of the intact rock, as well as the shear displacement imposed on the joint. The results showed that the predicted shear strength of clean rock joints obtained by the fuzzy model fit the experimental data satisfactorily and helped define the shear behavior of the discontinuity.