Fracture Toughness and Fracture Roughness Interrelationship in Thermally treated Westerly Granite
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This paper presents an experimental work aimed at assessing the correlation between fracture toughness (KIC) and fracture roughness for a series of Westerly granite specimens thermally treated up to 850°C. Mode I fracture toughness as a function of thermal treatment is determined using Cracked Chevron Notched Brazilian Disc specimens. The degree of roughness of the resultant fracture surfaces is analyzed with the aid of a high accuracy, high precision stereo-topometric measurement system. Roughness and toughness values display a negative correlation as a function of temperature. Fracture toughness decreases with increasing temperature due to the gradual opening of grain-grain boundaries in response to thermal stresses. Mode I fractures preferentially follow these weakened grain-grain boundaries, which in addition to the thermal expansion of individual grains, result in rougher failure profiles with increasing temperature. At low temperature, a distinct anisotropy in roughness was observed in all fracture surfaces with higher roughness values perpendicular to the direction of fracture propagation. However, higher treatment temperatures resulted in the homogenization of fracture roughness in all directions. These results confirm the important link among petrofabric analysis, fracture toughness, and fracture roughness in response to thermal treatment.
KeywordsFracture toughness fracture roughness thermal stress Westerly granite
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