Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 50, Issue 8, pp 2235–2242 | Cite as

Establishing Empirical Relationships for the Effects of Water Content on the Mechanical Behavior of Gosford Sandstone

  • Hossein MasoumiEmail author
  • James Horne
  • Wendy Timms
Technical Note


Mechanical properties of intact rocks, such as uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), Young’s modulus (E) and tensile strength (TS), are the key factors in rock engineering and are commonly the first parameters to be characterized for any designing process. In many projects, point-load index (PLI) is measured to indirectly estimate the UCS of the intact rock. The influence of water on the mechanical behavior of rocks can be problematic for the stability of rock mass in different civil and mining structures. Many studies have attempted to address these effects experimentally and analytically (Duda and Renner 2013; Erguler and Ulusay 2009; Fischer and Paterson 1992; Hawkins and McConnell 1992; Lisabeth and Zhu 2015; Nicolas et al. 2016; Ojo and Brook 1990; Rutter 1974; Wong and Jong 2014; Zhou et al. 2016), and it has been confirmed by different researchers that an increase in water content can lead to a decrease in the strength of intact rock (Baud et al. 2000; Chenevert 1970...


Gosford sandstone Uniaxial compressive strength Point-load index Tensile strength Water content 

List of symbols


Uniaxial compressive strength


Young’s modulus


Point-load index


Tensile strength


Water content


Mass of rock sample under partially saturated condition


Mass of dry rock sample


Radius of the sample


Hydraulic diffusivity




Skempton’s coefficient


Bulk modulus


Fluid viscosity


Biot’s coefficient


Maximum applied load measured during the point loading


Distance between two pointers (conical platens) in diametral point-load test which is also the core sample diameter


Length of the core sample


Peak load measured during the Brazilian or indirect tensile test


Thickness of the sample measured at the center


Nominal strength such as UCS, E, PLI, TS

a, b and c

Material constants in Hawkins and McConnell (1992) model


  1. ASTM (2010) Standard test method for measurement of hydraulic conductivity of saturated porous materials using a flexible wall permeameter. ASTM D5084. West Conshohocken, PA, United States: American Society for Testing and Materials InternationalGoogle Scholar
  2. Baud P, Zhu W, Wong TF (2000) Failure mode and weakening effect of water on sandstone. J Geophy R 105:16371–16389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bieniawski ZT, Bernede MJ (1979) Suggested methods for determining the uniaxial compressive strength and deformability of rock materials: part 1. Suggested method for determining deformability of rock materials in uniaxial compression. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 16:135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bieniawski ZT, Hawkes I (1978) Suggested methods for determining tensile strength of rock materials. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 15:99–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chenevert ME (1970) Shale alteration by water adsorption. J Petr Tech 22:1141–1147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duda M, Renner J (2013) The weakening effect of water on the brittle failure strength of sandstone. Geophy J Int 92:1091–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Erguler Z, Ulusay R (2009) Water-induced variations in mechanical properties of clay-bearing rocks. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 46:355–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fairhurst CE, Hudson JA (1999) Draft ISRM suggested method for the complete stress–strain curve for intact rock in uniaxial compression. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 36:279–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischer GJ, Paterson MS (1992) Measurement of permeability and storage capacity in rocks during deformation at high temperature and pressure. In: Evans B, Wong TF (eds) Fault mechanics and transport properties of rocks. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 213–252Google Scholar
  10. Franklin JA (1985) Suggested method for determining point load strength. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 22:51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Franklin JA, Vogler UW, Szlavin J, Edmund JM, Bieniawski ZT (1979) Suggested methods for determining water content, porosity, absorption and related properties. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 16:151–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hadizdeh J, Law R (1991) Water-weakening of sandstone and quartzite deformed at various stress and strain rates. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 28:431–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hawkins AB, McConnell BJ (1992) Sensitivity of sandstone strength and deformability to changes in moisture content. Q J Eng Geol 25:115–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ISRM (2007) The complete suggested methods for rock characterization, testing and monitoring: 1974–2006 ISRM. In: Ulusay R, Hudson JA (eds) Suggested methods prepared by the commission on testing methods. ISRM Turkish National Group, Kozan ofset, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  15. Kumpel HJ (1991) Poroelasticity: parameters reviewed. Geophys J Int 105:783–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lashkaripour GR, Passaris EKS (1995) Correlations between index parameters and mechanical properties of shales. In: 8th ISRM Congress, Tokyo, Japan, 25–29 September. International Society for Rock Mechanic, pp 257–261Google Scholar
  17. Li Z, Reddish DJ (2004) The effect of groundwater recharge on broken rocks. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 41:280–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lia D, Wonga LNY, Liua G, Zhanga X (2012) Influence of water content and anisotropy on the strength and deformability of low porosity meta-sedimentary rocks under triaxial compression. Eng Geol 126:46–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lisabeth HP, Zhu W (2015) Effect of temperature and pore fluid on the strength of porous limestone. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 120:6191–6208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Masoumi H, Douglas K, Russell AR (2016a) A bounding surface plasticity model for intact rock exhibiting size-dependent behaviour. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49:47–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Masoumi H, Saydam S, Hagan PC (2016b) Unified size-effect law for intact rock. Int J Geomech 16:04015059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nicolas A, Fortin J, Regnet JB, Dimanov A, Guéguen Y (2016) Brittle and semi-brittle behaviours of a carbonate rock: influence of water and temperature. Geophys J Int 206:438–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ojo O, Brook N (1990) The effect of moisture on some mechanical properties of rock. Min Sci Tech 10:145–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ord A, Vardoulakis I, Kajewski R (1991) Shear band formation in gosford sandstone. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 28:397–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roshan H, Andersen MS, Acworth IR (2015) Effect of solid–fluid thermal expansion on thermo-osmotic tests: an experimental and analytical study. J Petrol Sci Eng 126:222–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Roshan H et al (2016) Total porosity of tight rocks: a welcome to heat transfer technique. Energy Fuels 30:10072–10079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rutter EH (1974) The influence of temperature, strain rate and interstitial water in the experimental deformation of calcite rocks. Tectonophysics 22:311–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sufian A, Russell AR (2013) Microstructural pore changes and energy dissipation in Gosford sandstone during pre-failure loading using X-ray CT. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 57:119–131Google Scholar
  29. Töröka A, Vásárhelyib B (2010) The influence of fabric and water content on selected rock mechanical parameters of travertine, examples from Hungary. Eng Geol 115:237–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vásárhelyia B (2005) Statistical analysis of the influence of water content on the strength of the Miocene limestone. Rock Mech Rock Eng 38:69–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vásárhelyia B, Vánb P (2006) Influence of water content on the strength of rock. Eng Geol 84:70–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wong LNY, Jong MC (2014) Water saturation effects on the brazilian tensile strength of gypsum and assessment of cracking processes using high-speed video. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47:1103–1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yao Q, Chen T, Ju M, Liang S, Liu Y, Li X (2016) Effects of water intrusion on mechanical properties of and crack propagation in coal. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49:4699–4709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhou Z, Cai X, Cao W, Li X, Xiong C (2016) Influence of water content on mechanical properties of rock in both saturation and drying processes. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49:3009–3025CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mining EngineeringUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations