Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 981–999 | Cite as

Empirical Correlations for Predicting Strength Properties of Rocks from P-Wave Velocity Under Different Degrees of Saturation

  • Hasan Karakul
  • Resat UlusayEmail author
Original Paper


Determination of P-wave velocity (V p), which is closely related to intact rock properties both in laboratory and in situ conditions, is a non-destructive, easy and less complicated procedure. Due to these advantages, there is an increasing trend to predict the physico-mechanical properties of rocks from V p. By considering that no attempt on the estimation of mechanical properties of rocks from V p under different degrees of saturation has been made, in this study, it was aimed to correlate strength properties (uniaxial compressive and tensile strengths) with V p of various rock types under different degrees of saturation. For this purpose, fourteen different rock types were collected from several parts of Turkey and a comprehensive laboratory testing program was conducted. Experimental results indicated that strength and deformability properties of the rocks decreased with increasing degree of saturation, while V p showed increasing and decreasing trends depending on degree of saturation. Simple regression analysis results indicated that although prediction of the strength properties of rocks directly from V p at different degrees of saturation was possible, the equations developed would yield some under- or over-predictions. In the second stage of statistical analyses, a series of different prediction relationships were developed by using independent variables such as V p, degree of saturation and effective clay content (ECC). The statistical tests suggested that the resultant multivariate equations had very high prediction performances and were very useful tools to estimate the strength properties from V p determined at any degree of saturation. In addition, the comparisons between the theoretical Gassmann–Biot velocities, which were calculated at different degrees of saturation, and the experimental results suggest that the theoretical Gassmann–Biot velocities show inconsistencies with the experimental results obtained from the investigated rock types with high ECC. Therefore, it was concluded that the use of theoretical velocities is not suitable for rock types with high ECC.


P-wave velocity Degree of saturation Uniaxial compressive strength Tensile strength Gassmann–Biot theory Effective clay content Empirical equation Regression analysis 



The authors thank Professor Hasan Gercek of Bulent Ecevit University, Assoc. Prof. Ergun Tuncay, Professors Harun Sonmez and Bahtiyar Unver of Hacettepe University (Turkey), Ömer Aydan of Tokai University (Japan) and Emeritus Professor Micheal S. King of Imperial College (UK) for their comments and suggestions. The authors are also thankful to Professor Abidin Temel and Dr. Erdal Sen of the Geological Engineering Department at Hacettepe University for their kind help on the evaluation of XRD diffractograms and thin-sections, respectively, and to Assoc. Prof. Melih Genis (B. Ecevit University) for his kind help in a part of sampling. The authors also would like to express their thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Feasibility Studies DepartmentGeneral Directorate of Mineral Research and ExplorationAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Geological EngineeringHacettepe UniversityBeytepe, AnkaraTurkey

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