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|INTRODUCTION The first references in the literature to the so-called C.S.I.R. 'doorstopper' strain cell were made in 1964 1,2,3,4. These were the climax of nearly two years of experimental and developmental work with the instruments and the operating techniques involved. Since that time numerous field measurements have been made with 'doorstoppers' and they have been developed to a stage where they are in commercial production and are being supplied to users throughout the world. No detailed description of the latest 'doorstopper' equipment has, however, appeared in print and this paper is written to bring the literature up to date in this respect. The triaxial strain cell was developed three years ago 5, 6, 7 and was first described at the First Congress of the International Society for Rock Mechanics in Lisbon in 1966 8. Since that date laboratory tests and-particularly important-field tests 7' 9 have demonstrated the validity and practicality of the instruments and techniques. These instruments have also been developed to a stage where they have been released for commercial production. In this form they are very different from those described two years ago and a full description of them at this stage seems to be justified. THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY 'DOORSTOPPER' AND TRIAXIAL STRAIN CELLS Both the 'doorstopper' and triaxial strain cells were designed specifically to determine the absolute stress in rock using an overcoring stress relieving technique. They were not designed to measure changes in stress. They may, however, be used for the latter purpose provided the glue which is used to stick the strain gauges to the rock is known to possess sufficiently stable strain-time characteristics as not to affect the accuracy of the results during the time the measurements are made. The 'doorstopper' was designed primarily to measure the major principal stress in situations where its direction and those of the two other principal stresses were either known or could be assumed. For example, at great depth in undisturbed virgin ground, it is reasonable to assume that the maximum principal stress is vertical and that the other two lie in a horizontal plane. The borehole in which the 'doorstopper' is installed would thus be drilled in the horizontal plane parallel to one of the minor principal stresses, the direction of which would either have to be assumed or determined as described later. The stresses measured would be the vertical major principal stress and the principal stress acting in a horizontal plane normal to the borehole axis. It is possible, as will be shown later, to obtained the complete state of stress using 'doorstoppers'. In this event, it is necessary to make measurements in three boreholes drilled in any three known directions to each other and relative to a system of three orthogonal axes. The triaxial strain cell was designed to determine the complete state of stress in a single borehole drilled in any direction in any stress field. At first glance it would appear to supersede the 'doorstopper'. This is not necessarily true since there are|