Experimental Study of Ultrasonic Waves Propagating through a Rock Mass with a Single Joint and Multiple Parallel Joints

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Mechanical Engineering


Experiments were conducted to study the relationship between the transmission ratio (TR) and normal stress, joint roughness, joint number and frequency of incident waves, respectively, when ultrasonic waves pass across a rock mass with one joint and multiple parallel joints oriented normally. The ultrasonic waves were generated and received by pairs of piezoelectric transducers and recorded by an ultrasonic detector. The specimens were subjected to normal stress by a hydraulic jack and loading frame. The jointed rock mass was produced by superposing rock blocks in the study. Rough joints were produced by grooving notches on the planar joints formed by sawing directly. In the case of multiple parallel joints, the overall thickness of specimens was maintained while the joint number changed. Three pairs of P-wave transducers and one pair of S-wave transducers with different frequencies were, respectively, applied and all transducers emitted signals perpendicular to the joints in the experiment. The results indicate that TR increases with increasing normal stress while the increment rate decreases gradually. This is particularly so when the normal stress is high enough that TR will approximate 1 even if the rock mass has many joints. In addition, the experiments indicate that the higher the wave’s frequency, the lower its TR, and this phenomenon is gradually reduced as the normal stress increases. In response to S-waves, TR increases with increase in joint roughness; however, in response to P-waves, TR decreases gradually with increase in joint roughness. For multiple parallel joints in a fixed thickness rock mass with normally incident P-waves, TR does not always decrease with increase in the number of joints, and there is a threshold joint spacing for a certain incident wave: when the joint spacing is smaller than the threshold value, TR will increase with a decrease in joint spacing.