• equivalent medium method;
  • jointed rock mass;
  • wave attenuation;
  • effective velocity;
  • frequency spectrum analysis


This paper evaluates the existing equivalent medium methods for jointed rock mass and further develops the equivalent viscoelastic medium method proposed by the authors. The advantages and limitations of different equivalences to the discontinuous rock mass are discussed. Theoretical derivation of stress wave propagation through the equivalent viscoelastic medium is carried out by adopting the Fourier transformation method, and the parameters of the equivalent viscoelastic medium method are determined analytically. The frequency dependence and the wave attenuation phenomenon can be properly described when the imaginary terms of the complex moduli of the rock mass are included. The results show that the equivalent viscoelastic medium method is able to predict the effective velocity and the stress wave transmission coefficient in a rock mass more accurately than the conventional effective elastic moduli methods. An example of the stress wave propagation through rock mass with parallel joints shows that the equivalent viscoelastic medium method is promising and worthy to be further explored for application in practical rock engineering problems. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.