The Rocha Award committee of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, selected BGA member Chia Weng Boon of Malaysia as the winner of the Rocha Medal for 2016.
He was awarded the accolade for his thesis Distinct Element Modelling of Jointed Rock Masses: Algorithms and their Verification which he undertook at University of Oxford.
The main contribution of this thesis is the development of novel algorithms in the Distinct Element Method to model jointed rock masses, namely rock slicing procedures for block generation, and algorithms for contact detection between polygonal blocks in 2D or polyhedral blocks in 3D. This award is conferred to the best PhD in rock mechanics selected among a worldwide pool of theses.
University of Oxford professor Guy Houlsby, who was one of Boon’s PhD supervisors, said: “This is a very remarkable honour – especially as rock mechanics is not our speciality here”.
Boon added: “I am delighted that the International Society of Rock Mechanics found the thesis meaningful. There are two subjects on which the findings are particularly notable for practising engineers in the industry. The first is on the design of supports for underground openings such as tunnels or caverns in a jointed rock mass. The second is on slope stability and kinematics in 3D due to the impounding of water in dam construction”.
Following completion of his PhD at the University of Oxford, Boon is currently working in a private company in Singapore as a geotechnical engineer for projects involving underground excavations in rock.