Identifying crack initiation stress threshold in brittle rocks using axial strain stiffness characteristics Identifying crack initiation stress threshold in brittle rocks using axial strain stiffness characteristics

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Vol15 No.6: 1371-1382

Title】Identifying crack initiation stress threshold in brittle rocks using axial strain stiffness characteristics

Author】GAO Mei-ben1,2; LI Tian-bin1,2*; MENG Lu-bo1,2; MA Chun-chi1,2; XING Hui-lin3

Addresses】1 State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China; 2 College of Environment and Civil Engineering, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China; 3 Centre for Geoscience Computing, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Corresponding author】LI Tian-bin

Citation】Gao MB, Li TB, Meng LB, et al. (2018) Identifying crack initiation stress threshold in brittle rocks using axial strain stiffness characteristics. Journal of Mountain Science 15(6). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-4847-z

DOI】https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-4847-z

Abstract】As an estimate for the in-situ spalling strength around massive underground excavations to moderately jointed brittle rocks, crack initiation stress marks the initiation of rock micro fracturing. It is crucial to accurately identify crack initiation stress level by proper method. In this study, confined compression tests of sandstone samples are used to examine the validity/applicability of proposed axial strain stiffness method. The results show that by highlighting the minuscule changes in stress-strain curve, the axial strain stiffness curve provided further insight into rock failure process and revealed five stages: (a) irregular fluctuation, (b) nearly horizontal regular fluctuation, (c) irregular fluctuation gradually decreasing to zero, (d) extreme fluctuation, and (e) near zero, which mainly correspond to five stages of stress–strain curve. The ratio of crack-initiation stress to peak strength determined using this approach is 0.44–0.51, similar to the ranges previously reported by other researchers. In this method, the key is to accurately detect the end point of the stage (b), "nearly horizontal regular fluctuation" characterized by a sudden change in axial strain stiffness curve, and the sudden change signifies crack initiation in rock sample. Finally, the research indicates that the axial strain stiffness curve can provide a mean to identify the crack-initiation stress thresholds in brittle rocks.

Keywords】Brittle rock fracture; Rock failure; Sandstone; Crack initiation stress; Axial strain-stiffness; Triaxial test