Traditionally the profile of open cast mines is designed to be a straight line (i.e. planar). However, looking at nature the majority of natural slopes exhibit non-linear profiles. Recently Prof. Utili and co-workers have developed a novel theoretical framework based on limit analysis for the design of innovative slope profiles to be applied to open cast mines, transportation embankments and cuttings (see the figure on the right). In the PhD, the performance of generic non-linear optimal slope profiles will be systematically analysed for rock masses under various jointing and weathering scenarios by numerical modelling (e.g. discrete element method and/or finite element method).
It is expected that the project will provide new guidelines for the design of open cast mines of increased performance especially beneficial for the excavation of very deep mines.