Experimental Study of Failure Differences in Hard Rock Under True Triaxial Compression

  • Xia-Ting FengEmail author
  • Rui Kong
  • Xiwei Zhang
  • Chengxiang Yang
Original Paper


In view of a previous study of the intermediate principal stress effect at a limited σ2 range, a series of true triaxial tests, covering a full range of intermediate principal stresses that vary from the generalized triaxial compression stress state (σ2 = σ3) to the generalized triaxial tensile stress state (σ1 = σ2), was carried out on sandstone and granite samples. The experimental results revealed that the deformation, failure strength and failure mode have a significant dependence on the stress state. As an effect of the intermediate principal stress on crack evolution, the deformation difference known as stress-induced deformation anisotropy occurred and should be considered when developing the mechanical model. Moreover, a post-peak deformation with a step-shaped stress drop is observed and illustrates that there will be a multi-stage bearing capacity after the rock failure. The peak strength is non-symmetrical with the increasing σ2 and is closely related to the Lode angle. Based on the final fracture surface and SEM analysis under true triaxial compression, three failure modes and failure zones, including tension failure, shear failure and mixed failure, are delineated and discussed. Combining the failure mode and the strength under true triaxial compression, it is found that the strength variation exhibited a close relationship to the failure mechanism.


True triaxial Strength Deformation anisotropy Failure mechanism Hard rock 

List of Symbols

σ1, σ2, and σ3

Maximum, intermediate, and minimum principal stresses

τoct and σoct

Octahedral shear stress and octahedral normal stress


Mean effective normal stress

ε1, ε2, and ε3

Maximum, intermediate, and minimum principal strains


Unit weight

K12 and K13

Deformation moduli in the σ2 and σ3 directions


Deformation anisotropy coefficient


Lode stress parameter


Peak strength under different Lode stress parameters


Strength-increasing coefficient


Effective shear stress


Tensile stress



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial supports of the 111 Project under Grant No. B17009, the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 11572083 and the State Key Research and Development Program of China under Grant No. 2016YFC0600707.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xia-Ting Feng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rui Kong
    • 1
  • Xiwei Zhang
    • 1
  • Chengxiang Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education on Safe Mining of Deep Metal MinesNortheastern UniversityShenyangChina

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