This paper represents the result of a project conducted with developing a safe, practical and economical support system for engineering workings. In rock engineering, untensioned, fully cement-grouted rock bolts have been used for many years. However, there is only limited information about the action and the pull-out load capacity of rock bolts, and the relationship between boltgrout or grout-rock and the influence of the grout properties on the pull-out load capacity of a rock bolt. The effect of grout properties on the ultimate bolt load capacity in a pull-out test has been investigated in order to evaluate the support effect of rock bolts. Approximately 80 laboratory rock bolt pull-out tests in basalt blocks have been carried out in order to explain and develop the relations between the grouting materials and untensioned, fully grouted rock bolts. The effects of the mechanical properties of grouting materials on the pull-out load capacity of a fully grouted bolt have been qualified and a number of empirical formulae have been developed for the calculating of the pull-out load capacity of the fully cement-grouted bolts on the basis of the shear strength, the uniaxial compressive strength of the grouting material, the bolt length, the bolt diameter, the bonding area and the curing time of the grouting material. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.