Itasca is international to address the need to be local: we maintain offices throughout the world so we can operate as close to our customers and clients as possible. We continuously review our operations to assess whether we are meeting that critical goal and adjust accordingly. The recent reorganization of our operations in China, described in the International section below, is a perfect example. We are excited about this enhancement to our services in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

— Loren Lorig, Chief Executive Officer


The Baihetan Hydropower Plant and HIC

Baihetan is the second largest hydropower plant in China (after the Three Gorges) in terms of power generation capacity. This project can be considered the largest in China from the rock mechanics perspective, considering the complexity of the geological formation and the size of the facilities. One of the many challenges presented by the project stems from underground facility construction. Six silo chambers with diameters close to 60m are planned to be built at a depth of 500m below the surface. The chambers will be excavated in basalt flows, which raise several types of rock mechanics problems to be solved. Itasca Consulting China Ltd. has been involved in this project in the past few years and recently completed the assessment of the underground facility layout design. HIC (see International below) is currently busy with proposal preparation to help with monitoring and support design for the underground facilities.


3DEC Model showing geological structures and major underground facility within the right river bank, the size of three of the columnar chambers is close to 60m in diameter and over 100m in height.

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The release of FLAC 7.0 is imminent. Users of 6.0 have a limited period to pre-purchase an upgrade to version 7.0 at a reduced price. The new version features an improved GUI, new grid generation tools, multi-threaded calculations, factor-of-safety calculation enhancements, new constitutive models, new liner (m-p diagram) plotting, and more. A complete description of what's new is available. In addition, the Itasca web site features movies, a demo version, and an extensive publication list that will help you become acquainted with FLAC, its capabilities, and its soon-to-be-released new version.

Screen shot of FLAC 7.0; click here or on the image
to enlarge in a separate window

Update Alert:
Current Versions
updated since
May 15, 2011:








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Introducing HydroChina Itasca R&D Center

HydroChina Itasca R&D Center (HIC) initiated operations in March 2011. This new joint venture is owned by three entities: HydroChina Engineering Corporation, Itasca International Inc., and Chinese Academy of Science. This office has started with an initial staffing of 9 engineers, 5 from Itasca Consulting China Limited (ICCL) and 4 from HydroChina. HIC will be the office providing Itasca's consulting services in China. ICCL, which has been operating now for seven years, will continue its functions with a specific focus on software sales and support to the Chinese market.

HIC is already at work on two world-class projects. The first is the Jinping Underground Research Laboratory (URL) — a research facility seated in the core area of Jinping Mountain with a depth of 2400m below the surface. The URL has already been built and is in operation thanks to access provided by the Jinping hydropower project now under construction. HIC will plan rock mechanics studies for the URL. The second project is the Baihetan Hydropower Plant, described in the Consulting section above.

The new office will host a one-day colloquium in Hangzhou on Monday, October 24, 2011, preceded by a social program on Sunday, October 23. The colloquium is a celebration and formal inauguration of the new office. It will follow on the heels of the ISRM Conference (Beijing, October 16-21). The program will consist of a small number of invited presentations (in English) by both Chinese and international colleagues, followed by an informal discussion and a reception. The objective is to identify the major challenges for global rock mechanics and rock engineering and how best to address them.

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Fall Training Spaces Available

Space is available now for introductory training courses to be held this October at the offices of Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. As with all our general training courses, registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and space in these courses is filling up. If you are interested in attending, we encourage you to sign up now. The courses and course dates are:

FLAC - Oct. 12-14, 2011
Rhino/KUBRIX - Oct. 18, 2011
FLAC3D - Oct. 19-21, 2011

Full course descriptions, registration, and price information are available online.

Rhino/KUBRIX Training in Sweden

Itasca Consultants AB (ICAB) will give a training course on the use of Rhino/KUBRIX for modeling using Itasca software. The training course will be held in Stockholm on October 27-28, 2011 at the ICAB office. Registration will be approximately 10,000 SEK for the two-day course. Further information about the course, including registration procedure and course outline, is available from the ICAB web site.

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Epilogue: 2nd International FLAC/DEM Symposium

The Second International FLAC/DEM Symposium, held in Melbourne on February 14-16, 2011, was a success. Many engineers, academics, scientists, researchers, consultants and more were in attendance. It was rewarding to have the chance to see so many friends, colleagues, clients, and associates gathered in one place. The groups that gather for the FLAC/DEM Symposia exhibit outstanding talent, and so we are always grateful to get the chance to share their experiences, innovations, and expertise and to offer some of our own in exchange.

The Itasca web site now provides access to the papers and the presentations from the symposium. Those who did not have a chance to attend in particular may find these materials of interest.

In time, these materials will also be available from the FLAC/DEM Symposium web site, which will also serve as the principle source of information and news about the next conference. Planning is at its most preliminary at this point, but early indications are that the next symposium will be held in China. Keep an eye on the FLAC/DEM Symposium site in the months ahead for further information.

Finally, Itasca International would like to use this space to extend a special thanks to the personnel of its office in Australia, Itasca Australia Pty Ltd. In serving as host for the conference, they performed a heroic labor in planning, preparing, and staging this event. They have our collective thanks.

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Staff Publications

Damjanac, B., and C. Fairhurst. (2010) "Evidence for a Long-Term Strength Threshold in Crystalline Rock," Rock Mech. Rock Eng., 43, 513-531.

Damjanac, B. et al. (2010) "A New Approach to Hydraulic Fracturing Modeling in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs," in Proceedings, 44th U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium (5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2010). Paper No. 10-400. Alexandria, Virginia: ARMA.

Detournay, C. (2010) "Impact of Rock Strength on Sand Production — Numerical and Semi-Analytical Investigations," in Proceedings, 9th HSTAM International Congress on Mechanics (Dedicated to the Memory of Professor Ioannis Vardoulakis, Limassol, Cyprus, July 2010), pp. 319-329. Limassol: University of Cyprus.

Gil, I. et al. (2010) "Geomechanical Evaluation of Solids Injection," in Proceedings, 44th U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium (5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2010). Paper No. 10-399. Alexandria, Virginia: ARMA.

Han, Y., and P. Cundall. (2011) "Lattice Boltzmann Modeling of Pore-Scale Fluid Flow Through Idealized Porous Media," Int. J. Numer. Meth. Fluids, n/a. doi: 10.1002/fld.2443.

Han, Y., and P. A. Cundall. (2010) "Resolution Sensitivity of Momentum-Exchange and Immersed Boundary Methods for Solid-Fluid Interaction in the Lattice Boltzmann Method," Int. J. Numer. Meth. Fluids, doi: 10.1002/fld.2353.

Jobmann, M., and D. Billaux. (2010) "Fractal Model for Permeability Calculation from Porosity and Pore Radius Information and Application to Excavation Damaged Zones Surrounding Waste Emplacement Boreholes in Opalinus Clay," Int. J. Rock Mech. Min., 47, 583-589.

Lorig, L. et al. (2010) "A Three-Dimensional Model for Rock Slopes Based on Micromechanics," in Proceedings, 44th U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium (5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2010). Paper No. 10-163. Alexandria, Virginia: ARMA.

Potyondy, D. O. (2010) "A Grain-Based Model for Rock: Approaching the True Microstructure," in Proceedings, Bergmekanikk i Norden 2010 — Rock Mechanics in the Nordic Countries 2010 (Kongsberg, Norway, June 2010), pp. 225-234, C. C. Li et al., Eds. Kongsberg: Norwegian Group for Rock Mechanics.

Reyes-Montes, J. M. et al. (2010) "Microseismic Validation of Jointed Rock Models in Cave Mining," in Proceedings, 44th U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium (5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2010). Paper No. 10-273. Alexandria, Virginia: ARMA.

Reyes-Montes, J. M., W. S. Pettitt and R. P. Young. (2010) "The More We Listen the More We See: Microseismic Monitoring of Induced Seismicity is Coming of Age," CSEG Recorder, 35(9), 38-40,42-43 (November).

Sainsbury, D. P., B. L. Sainsbury and L. J. Lorig. (2010) "Investigation of Caving Induced Subsidence at the Abandoned Grace Mine," Min. Tech., 119(3), 151-161, DOI: 10.1179/174328610X12820409992336.

Tawadrous, A. et al. (2009) "Prediction of Uniaxial Compression PFC3D Model Micro-Properties Using Artificial Neural Networks," Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech., 33(18), 1953-1962.

Zhang, C. S. et al. (2010) "Behavior of Marble at Jinping II Project — Part 2: Rockmass," in Proceedings, 44th U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium (5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2010). Paper No. 10-127. Alexandria, Virginia: ARMA.

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