Rock Mechanics Laboratory


Lecture In-charge: Dr. L. I. N. de Silva

Technical Officer: Mr. H. A. M. I. T .Hettiarachchi


Rock mechanics is a discipline that uses the principles of mechanics to describe the behaviour of rock of engineering scale. That recognition is an inevitable consequence of new engineering activities in rock, including complex underground installations, deep cuts for spillways, and enormous open pit mines. Rock mechanics deals with the properties of rock and the special methodology required for design of rock-related components of engineering schemes. Rock, like soil, is sufficiently distinct from other engineering materials that the process of "design" in rock is really special. In dealing with a reinforced concrete structure, for example, the engineer first calculates the external loads to be applied, prescribes the material on the basis of the strength required (exerting control to insure that strength is guaranteed), and accordingly determines the structural geometry. In rock structures, on the other hand, the applied loads are often less significant than the forces deriving from redistribution of initial stresses. Finally, the geometry of the structure is at least partly ordained by geological structure and not completely within the designer's freedoms. For these reasons, rock mechanics includes some aspects not considered in other fields of applied mechanics- geological selection of sites rather than control of material properties, of initial stresses, and analysis, through graphics and model studies, of multiple modes of failure. The subject of rock mechanics is therefore closely allied with geology and geological engineering. 

Laboratory facilities

Determination of the mechanical properties of rock materials for practical, researches and Testing

Contribution to the academic program

  • Practical classes
  • Semester 03
  • Semester 05
  • Semester 08
  • Research project 07 & 08
  • Testing facilities
  • Los Angeles Abrasion Test
  • Point Load Test
  • Core Drilling
  • Slake Durability Test
  • Uniaxial Compression Test

Health and safety regulations

  • Hearing protection (noise attenuating ear muffs or plugs) are required whenever people are using rock cutting or handling machine.
  • Appropriate clothing must be worn (no shorts, capris, skirts or sleeveless shirts)
  • Confine long hair and loose clothing
  • Open-toed shoes or sandals are not permitted.
  • Protective rubber aprons and safety goggles or glasses must be worn during sample preparation.
  • Persons who want to use the rock preparation lab must be trained prior to their first usage of the machines. Ask laboratory supervisors about training options.