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Strength Properties

In the Define Material Properties dialog, the Strength Parameters allow you to define:

  • The failure (strength) criterion for a material
  • The material type (elastic or plastic)

Failure Criterion

The following seven categories contain strength criteria and constitutive models available in RS3 for defining the strength of your rock mass or soil:

  1. Elastic/Plastic

    The Elastic/Plastic category includes Mohr-Coulomb, Hoek-Brown, Drucker-Prager, Generalized Hoek-Brown, and Discrete Function strength criteria.

  2. Softening/Hardening

    The Softening/Hardening category includes Cam-Clay, Modified Cam-Clay, Mohr-Coulomb With Cap, Softening Hardening Model, Barcelona Basic, and NorSand constitutive models.

  3. Dynamic

    The Dynamic category includes Bounding Surface Plasticity, Manzari and Dafalias constitutive models.

  4. Slide Models

    The Slide Models category includes Barton-Bandis, Hyperbolic, Power Curve, Shear/Normal Function, SHANSEP, and Vertical Stress Ratio strength criteria. The Slide Models manual can be found here: Slide- Isotropic Models.

  5. Anisotropic

    The Anisotropic category includes Snowden Modified Anisotropic Linear, Anisotropic Linear, Generalized Anisotropic, Jointed Mohr Coulomb, and Jointed Generalized Hoek Brown strength criteria. Anisotropic model manual can be found here: Slide- Anisotropic Models.

  6. FLAC

    The FLAC category includes ChSoil, CySoil, and Double Yield constitutive models.


    The PLAXIS category includes Hardening Soil, Hardening Soil with Small Strain Stiffness, Soft Soil, Soft Soil Creep, and Swelling Rock constitutive models.

For the Mohr-Coulomb, Hoek-Brown or Generalized Hoek-Brown criteria, you can link directly to RSData to help determine values of input parameters.

Material Type

You may select either Elastic or Plastic for the Material Type. This option is available for elastic-perfect-plastic and elastic-brittle-plastic models.

Elastic Material
If you choose Material Type = Elastic, then the failure criterion parameters which you enter will only be used for the calculation and plotting of strength factor within the material. Although an Elastic material cannot "fail", the failure envelope allows a degree of overstress to be calculated.

Plastic Material
If you choose Material Type = Plastic , the strength parameters you enter will be used in the analysis if yielding occurs. This is unlike Elastic materials, where the strength parameters are only used to obtain values of strength factor, but do not affect the analysis results (i.e. stresses and displacements are not affected).
If you define a material to be Plastic then you may also define residual strength parameters and a dilation parameter, depending on the strength criterion.
  • If the residual strength parameters are equal to the peak parameters, then you are defining an "ideally" elastic-plastic material.
  • The dilation is a measure of the increase in volume of the material when sheared (see below for more information).

Link to RSData

If you have the program RSData installed on your computer, you can start up these programs directly from the Define Material Properties dialog. You can then use RSData to help determine parameters for the Mohr-Coulomb, Hoek-Brown or Generalized Hoek-Brown criteria (e.g. by curve fitting lab test data, for example).

  • To start up RSData select the Button to start up RSData button in the Define Material Properties dialog. If you have both programs installed on your computer, then RSData will be opened.
  • To paste applicable results from RSData into RS3, first select the Copy Data option in RSData, and then select the paste button Paste Icon in the Define Material Properties dialog in RS3. Applicable data will be pasted into the dialog. If applicable results for the selected strength criterion are not found, an error message will be displayed.

Additional information can be located in the Material Model Manuals:

  1. Preliminaries on Constitutive Models
  2. Elastic Models
  3. Elastoplastic Constitutive Models
  4. Druker-Prager Model
  5. Mohr-Coulomb Model
  6. Hoek-Brown Model
  7. Duncan-Chang Model
  8. Cam Clay and Modified Cam Clay Model
  9. Jointed Rock Model
  10. Mohr-Coulomb with Cap Model
  11. Softening-Hardening Model
  12. User Defined Material Model
  13. ChSoil Model (FLAC)
  14. CySoil and Double Yield Model (FLAC)
  15. Hardening Soil Model (PLAXIS)
  16. Hardening Soil Model with Small Strain Stiffness (PLAXIS)
  17. Soft Soil Model (PLAXIS)
  18. Soft Soil Creep Model (PLAXIS)
  19. Swelling Rock Model (PLAXIS)
  20. Slide- Isotropic Model
  21. Slide- Anisotropic Model
  22. Effective Stress Calculation in Undrained Materials
  23. Conversion of non-linear strength envelopes to Generalized Hoek-Brown Envelopes

For information about RSData see the Rocscience website.

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