Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 269–287 | Cite as

The Brazilian Disc Test for Rock Mechanics Applications: Review and New Insights

  • Diyuan Li
  • Louis Ngai Yuen Wong
Original Paper


The development of the Brazilian disc test for determining indirect tensile strength and its applications in rock mechanics are reviewed herein. Based on the history of research on the Brazilian test by analytical, experimental, and numerical approaches, three research stages can be identified. Most of the early studies focused on the tensile stress distribution in Brazilian disc specimens, while ignoring the tensile strain distribution. The observation of different crack initiation positions in the Brazilian disc has drawn a lot of research interest from the rock mechanics community. A simple extension strain criterion was put forward by Stacey (Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 18(6):469–474, 1981) to account for extension crack initiation and propagation in rocks, although this is not widely used. In the present study, a linear elastic numerical model is constructed to study crack initiation in a 50-mm-diameter Brazilian disc using FLAC3D. The maximum tensile stress and the maximum tensile strain are both found to occur about 5 mm away from the two loading points along the compressed diameter of the disc, instead of at the center of the disc surface. Therefore, the crack initiation point of the Brazilian test for rocks may be located near the loading point when the tensile strain meets the maximum extension strain criterion, but at the surface center when the tensile stress meets the maximum tensile strength criterion.


Brazilian test Tensile strength Tensile strain Crack initiation Rock mechanics Review 



The authors would like to thank all the researchers who have contributed to the development of the Brazilian test on rock and rock-like materials over the past 70 years. The first author acknowledges the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 11102239) and the 973 Program (no. 2010CB732004).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and Safety EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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