Asperity (geotechnical engineering)

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In Geotechnical engineering the term asperity is mostly used for unevenness (roughness) of the surface of a discontinuity, grain, or particle with heights in the range from approximately 0.1 mm to many decimetre. Smaller unevenness is normally considered to be a material property (often denoted by material friction or basic material friction).[1]


An often used definition for asperities in geotechnical engineering:
Unevenness of a surface are asperities if these cause dilation if two blocks with in between a discontinuity with matching asperities on the two opposing surfaces (i.e. a fitting discontinuity) move relative to each other, under low stress levels that do not cause breaking of the asperities.

Contrast with asperity in materials science

Materials science recognizes asperities ranging from the sub-visual (normally less than 0.1 mm) to the atomic scale.

See also


  1. ^ Patton, F.D. (25 Sep – 1 Oct 1966). "Multiple Modes of Shear Failure in Rock". In Rocha, M. Proc. 1st Congress of International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM). 1. Lisbon, Portugal: Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisboa, Portugal. pp. 509–513. OL 19662608M.

Further reading

  • ASTM D5607 (2008). Standard Test Method for Performing Laboratory Direct Shear Strength Tests of Rock Specimens Under Constant Normal Force. ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2008. p. 450. doi:10.1520/D5607-08.
  • Price, D.G. (2008). De Freitas, M.H., ed. Engineering Geology: Principles and Practice. Springer. p. 450. ISBN 3-540-29249-7.
  • Szymakowski, J.; Haberfield, C. (11–14 September 2001). "Preliminary results of direct shear testing of large scale, jointed, soft rock". In Sijing, W.; Bingjun, F.; Zhongkui, Z.L. Frontiers of Rock Mechanics and Sustainable Development in the 21st Century, Proc. ISRM 2001 - 2nd ARMS. Beijing, China: Swets & Zeitlinger, Lisse, Netherlands, Taylor & Francis. pp. 257–260. ISBN 90-265-1851-X.
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