Vacuum testing of the permeability of the excavation damaged zone

Research paper by A. T. Jakubick, T. Franz

Indexed on: 01 Apr '93Published on: 01 Apr '93Published in: Rock mechanics and rock engineering


The vacuum permeability method provides a new approach to assessment of permeability in the near-field of rock excavations. The method, which resembles leak testing of vacuum lines, is based on the measurement and interpretation of the pneumatic response to evacuation of a rock mass. As the induced drainage area is in order of meters, the method is particularly suitable on the scale of the excavation damaged zone. The data can be evaluated either analytically or numerically. The evaluation is similar to the approach used in the analysis of drill stem tests in gas wells. Experiments on large scale laboratory models corroborated the validity of the method and the evaluation procedure. Field tests were conducted at a wide range of geomechanical conditions. The collected data indicate that there are three characteristic types of permeability distribution in the excavation damaged zone.