An empirical method for design of grouted bolts in rock tunnels based on the Geological Strength Index (GSI)

Osgoui, Reza R.
Unal, Erdal
The procedure presented in this paper has been developed for the design of grouted rock bolts in rock tunnels during preliminary design stage. The proposed approach provides a step-by-step procedure to set up a series of practical guidelines for optimum pattern of rock bolting in a variety of rock mass qualities. For this purpose, a new formula for the estimation of the rock load (support pressure) is recommended. Due to its wide-spread acceptance in the field of rock engineering, the Geological Strength Index (GSI) is adopted in support pressure equation. For poor and very poor rock mass where the GSI < 27, the use of Modified-GSI is, instead, recommended. The supporting action is assumed to be provided by rock bolts carrying a total load defined by the rock load height. The mechanism of bolting is assumed to rely on roof arch forming and suspension principle. Integrated with support pressure function, the bolt density parameter is modified in order to provide an optimized bolt pattern for any shape of tunnel. The modified bolt density can also be used in analysis of a reinforced tunnel in terms of Ground Reaction Curve (GRC) in such a way as to evaluate the reinforced rock mass and the tunnel convergence. By doing so, the effectiveness of the bolting pattern is well evaluated. The proposed approach based on GSI is believed to overcome constrains and limitations of existing empirical bolt design methods based on RMR or Q-system, which are doubtful in poor rock mass usage. The applicability of the proposed method is illustrated by the stability analysis and bolt design of a rail-road tunnel in Turkey.


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Citation Formats
R. R. Osgoui and E. Unal, “An empirical method for design of grouted bolts in rock tunnels based on the Geological Strength Index (GSI),” ENGINEERING GEOLOGY, pp. 154–166, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: