Cracking processes in rock-like material containing a single flaw under uniaxial compression : a numerical study based on parallel bonded-particle model approach
Wong, Louis Ngai Yuen
Date of Issue2011
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Cracking processes have been extensively studied in brittle rock and rock-like materials. Due to the experimental limitations and the complexity of rock texture, details of the cracking processes could not always be observed and assessed comprehensively. To contribute to this field of research, a numerical approach based on the particle element model was used in present study. It would give us insights into what is happening to crack initiation, propagation and coalescence. Parallel bond model, a type of bonded-particle model, was used to numerically simulate the cracking process in rock-like material containing a single flaw under uniaxial vertical compression. The single flaw’s inclinations varied from 0° to 75° measured from the horizontal. As the uniaxial compression load was increased, multiple new microcracks initiated in the rock, which later propagated and eventually coalesced into longer macrocracks. The inclination of the pre-existing flaw was found to have a strong influence on the crack initiation and propagation patterns. The simulations replicated most of the phenomena observed in the physical experiments, such as the type, the initiation location and the initiate angle of the first cracks, as well as the development of hair-line cracks, which later evolved to macrocracks. Analyses of the parallel bond forces and displacement fields revealed some important mechanisms of the cracking processes. The first cracks typically initiated from the tensile stress concentration regions, in which the tensile stress was partially released after their initiation. The tensile stress concentration regions subsequently shifted outwards close to the propagating tips of the first cracks. The initiation and propagation of the first cracks would not significantly influence the compressive stress singularity at the flaw tips, which was the driving force of the initiation of secondary cracks. The initiation of microcracking zone consisting almost exclusively of micro-tensile cracks, and that of microcracking zone consisting of micro-tensile cracks and mixed micro-tensile and shear cracks, were found to be correlated with two distinct types of displacement fields, namely type I (DF_I) and type II (DF_II), respectively.
Rock mechanics and rock engineering
© 2011 Springer-Verlag.