Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 893–908 | Cite as

Experimental and Numerical Studies on Development of Fracture Process Zone (FPZ) in Rocks under Cyclic and Static Loadings

  • M. Ghamgosar
  • N. Erarslan
Original Paper


The development of fracture process zones (FPZ) in the Cracked Chevron Notched Brazilian Disc (CCNBD) monsonite and Brisbane tuff specimens was investigated to evaluate the mechanical behaviour of brittle rocks under static and various cyclic loadings. An FPZ is a region that involves different types of damage around the pre-existing and/or stress-induced crack tips in engineering materials. This highly damaged area includes micro- and meso-cracks, which emerge prior to the main fracture growth or extension and ultimately coalescence to macrofractures, leading to the failure. The experiments and numerical simulations were designed for this study to investigate the following features of FPZ in rocks: (1) ligament connections and (2) microcracking and its coalescence in FPZ. A Computed Tomography (CT) scan technique was also used to investigate the FPZ behaviour in selected rock specimens. The CT scan results showed that the fracturing velocity is entirely dependent on the appropriate amount of fracture energy absorbed in rock specimens due to the change of frequency and amplitudes of the dynamic loading. Extended Finite Element Method (XFEM) was used to compute the displacements, tensile stress distribution and plastic energy dissipation around the propagating crack tip in FPZ. One of the most important observations, the shape of FPZ and its extension around the crack tip, was made using numerical and experimental results, which supported the CT scan results. When the static rupture and the cyclic rupture were compared, the main differences are twofold: (1) the number of fragments produced is much greater under cyclic loading than under static loading, and (2) intergranular cracks are formed due to particle breakage under cyclic loading compared with smooth and bright cracks along cleavage planes under static loading.


FPZ Subcritical crack propagation Rock fracture toughness CCNBD CT scan SEM 



Newcrest Mining is acknowledged for funding the Scholarship of the first author during the course of the research on which this paper was in part based, and for providing monsonite core samples from Cadia Valley, which were used for testing purposes. Golders Associates are acknowledged for providing access to Brisbane tuff core samples from the CLEM7 tunnel project in Brisbane, which were used for testing purposes. The author would like to express his sincere thanks to Professor Arcady Dyskin and Professor Eduardo A. G. Marquesn for their kind help and technical advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Queensland, School of Civil EngineeringBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Adana Science and Technology University, Mining and Mineral Processing EngineeringAdanaTurkey

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