A discussion of techniques designed to offset the hazards of using laboratory test results to predict the reaction of a rock massif. The major obstacles to such an approach are three: (1) the fact that frequently rock in situ has natural stresses that cannot be quantitatively examined; (2) no way to assess quantitatively the influence of gross geological defects; and (3) lack of empirical data on the reaction of rock under a prototype load. The paper considers some approaches, such as the use of statistical methods or the pressure chamber test, developed to meet these difficulties. Although some progress has been made, the author concludes that more data on the reaction of rock to prototype loading conditions are urgently needed.
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