Shear Rate Effects on the Post-peak Shear Behaviour and Acoustic Emission Characteristics of Artificially Split Granite Joints

  • Fanzhen Meng
  • Louis Ngai Yuen WongEmail author
  • Hui Zhou
  • Jin Yu
  • Guangtan Cheng
Original Paper


Rock joints may be sheared at different rates under quasi-static or dynamic loading. Understanding the mechanical response of rock joints at different shear rates is of great importance for the mitigation of dynamic geo-hazards such as earthquakes, fault slip rockbursts and landslides. In this study, direct shear tests at various shear rates (0.001–0.1 mm/s) under different normal stresses (3–40 MPa) are conducted on split granite joints, and the influences of shear rates on the shear strength, post-peak shear behaviour and acoustic emission (AE) characteristics are analysed and discussed. The research findings suggest that both peak and residual shear strengths tend to decrease with increasing shear rate. Stick–slip occurs on all the joints, during which stress drop values increase with increasing shear displacement and normal stress. The stress drop magnitudes during stick–slip decrease with shear rate, while the time intervals between stress drops during stick–slip increase with shear rate. Further, the energy rate tends to increase while the AE events decrease with increasing shear rate, which is caused by the time-dependent deformation behaviour. The AE b value decreases linearly with the shear rate on a logarithmic scale, and the influence is more significant under high normal stress conditions. The variations in the b value can reflect the evolution process (first loading at lower and then higher shear rates) of dynamic geo-hazards and can be used as an effective indicator to predict the dynamic shear failure of granite joints in a temporal sequence. The results of this study will encourage better understanding of the rate-dependent shear behaviour of rough granite joints, particularly under high normal stress, and will provide some references for the monitoring and prediction of dynamic geo-hazards with respect to the AE (or micro-seismic) technique.


Granite joint Stick–slip Acoustic emission Energy release AE b value 



We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation of China under Grant nos. 51879135, 51609121, 41472270, 51679093 and 41372298 and the National Program on Key Basic Research Project of China under Grant no. 2014CB046902. The work in this paper was also supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (Grant no. ZR2016EEQ22), and the Hong Kong Scholars Program (XJ2017043). The second author acknowledges the support from the General Research Fund 2017/18 (#17303917) of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and the Hung Hing Ying Physical Sciences Research Fund 2017–18.


  1. Atapour H, Moosavi M (2014) The influence of shearing velocity on shear behavior of artificial joints. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47(5):1745–1761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Budi G, Rao KUM, Deb D (2014) Laboratory modelling of rock joints under shear and constant normal loading. Int J Res Eng Technol 3(4):190–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Colombo IS, Main IG, Ford MC (2003) Assessing damage of reinforced concrete beam using b value analysis of acoustic emission signal. J Mater Civ Eng 15:280–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crawford AM, Curran JH (1981a) The influence of shearing velocity on the frictional resistance of rock discontinuities. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 18:505–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crawford AM, Curran JH (1981b) Rate-dependent behaviour of rock joints Black quartz syenite. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on weak rock, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  6. Crawford AM, Curran JH (1982) The influence of rate and displacement dependent shear resistance on the response of rock slopes to seismic loads. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 19:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Curran JH, Leong PK (1983) Influence of shear velocity on rock joint strength. In: Proceeding of 5th ISRM congress, international society for rock mechanics, Melbourne, Australia, pp 370 (A235–A240) Google Scholar
  8. Goebel THW, Schorlemmer D, Becker TW, Dresen G, Sammis CG (2013) Acoustic emissions document stress changes over many seismic cycles in stick-slip experiments. Geophys Res Lett 40:2049–2054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gutenberg B, Richter CF (1944) Frequency of earthquakes in California. Bull Seismol Soc Am 34:185–188Google Scholar
  10. Hong C, Seokwon J (2004) Influence of shear load on the characteristics of acoustic emission of rock–concrete interface. Key Eng Mater 270–273:1598–1603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ishida T, Kanagawa T, Kanaori Y (2010) Source distribution of acoustic emissions during an in situ direct shear test: implications for an analog model of seismogenic faulting in an inhomogeneous rock mass. Eng Geol 110(3):66–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jiang Q, Feng XT, Gong YH, Song LB, Ran SG, Cui J (2016) Reverse modelling of natural rock joints using 3D scanning and 3D printing. Comput Geotech 73:210–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li C, Nordlund E (1990) Characteristics of acoustic emissions during shearing of rock joints. In: Barton N, Stephansson O (eds) Proceedings of first international symposium on rock joints. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 251–258Google Scholar
  14. Li HB, Feng HP, Liu B (2006) Study on strength behaviors of rock joints under different shearing deformation velocities. China J Rock Mech Eng 25(12):2435–2440 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  15. Li B, Jiang Y, Wang G (2012) Evaluation of shear velocity dependency of rock fractures by using repeated shear tests. In: Proceeding of 12th ISRM congress, harmonising rock engineering and the environment, Beijing, China, pp 699–702Google Scholar
  16. Lin K, Liu HJ, Wei CL, Huang Q (2017) Effects of shear rate on cyclic behavior of dry stack masonry joint. Constr Build Mater 157:809–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu TT, Li JC, Li HB, Li XP, Li NN (2017) Influence of shearing velocity on shear mechanical properties of planar filled joints. Rock Soil Mech 38(7):1967–1973 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  18. Meng FZ, Zhou H, Li SJ, Zhang CQ, Wang ZQ, Kong L, Zhang LM (2016a) Shear behaviour and acoustic emission characteristics of different joints under various stress levels. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49(12):4919–4928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meng FZ, Zhou H, Wang ZQ, Zhang LM, Kong L, Li SJ, Zhang CQ (2016b) Experimental study on the prediction of rockburst hazards induced by dynamic structural plane shearing in deeply buried hard rock tunnels. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 86:210–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meng FZ, Zhou H, Wang ZQ, Zhang LM, Kong L, Li SJ, Zhang CQ (2017) Influences of shear history and infilling on the mechanical characteristics and acoustic emissions of joints. Rock Mech Rock Eng 50(8):2039–2057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meng FZ, Zhou H, Wang Z, Zhang CQ, Li SJ, Zhang LM, Kong L (2018a) Characteristics of asperity damage and its influence on the shear behavior of granite joints. Rock Mech Rock Eng 51(2):429–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meng FZ, Wong LNY, Zhou H, Wang ZQ (2018b) Comparative study on dynamic shear behavior and failure mechanism of two types of granite joint. Eng Geol 245:356–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mirzaghorbanali A, Nemcik J, Aziz N (2014) Effects of shear rate on cyclic loading shear behaviour of rock joints under constant normal stiffness conditions. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47:1931–1938CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mogi K (1962) Magnitude frequency relations for elastic shocks accompanying fractures of various materials and some related problems in earthquakes. Bull Earthq Res Inst Univ Tokyo 40:831–853Google Scholar
  25. Moradian ZA, Ballivy G, Rivard P, Gravel C, Rousseau B (2010) Evaluating damage during shear tests of rock joints using acoustic emission. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 47(4):590–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moradian ZA, Ballivy G, Rivard P (2012a) Correlating acoustic emission sources with damaged zones during direct shear test of rock joints. Can Geotech J 49(6):710–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moradian ZA, Ballivy G, Rivard P (2012b) Application of acoustic emission for monitoring shear behavior of bonded concrete–rock joints under direct shear test. Can J Civil Eng 39(8):887–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Muralha J, Grasselli G, Tatone B, Blu¨mel M, Chryssanthakis P, Yujing J (2014) ISRM suggested method for laboratory determination of the shear strength of rock joints: revised version. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47(1):291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nejati HR, Ghazvinian A (2014) Brittleness effect on rock fatigue damage evolution. Rock Mech Rock Eng 47:1839–1848CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schneider HJ (1976) Influence of machine stiffness and shear rate on the friction behaviour of rock joints. Bull Int Assoc Eng Geol 14(1):109–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schneider HJ (1977) The time dependence of friction of rock joints. Bull Int Assoc Eng Geol 16(1):235–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scholz CH (1968) The frequency–magnitude relation of microfracturing in rock and its relation to earthquakes. Bull Seismol Soc Am 58:399–415Google Scholar
  33. Schorlemmer D, Wiemer S, Wyss M (2005) Variations in earthquake-size distribution across different stress regimes. Nature 437:539–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Son BK, Lee CI, Park YJ, Lee UK (2006) Effect of boundary conditions on shear behaviour of rock joints around tunnel. Tunn Undergr Sp Tech 21(3):347–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tang ZC, Wong NYL (2016) Influences of normal loading rate and shear velocity on the shear behavior of artificial rock joints. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49(6):2165–2172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tse R, Cruden DM (1979) Estimating joint roughness coefficients. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 16:303–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang G, Zhang XP, Jiang YJ, Wu XZ, Wang SG (2016) Rate-dependent mechanical behavior of rough rock joints. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 83:231–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhou H, Meng FZ, Zhang CQ, Hu DW, Lu JJ, Xu RC (2014) Investigation of the acoustic emission characteristics of artificial saw-tooth joints under shearing condition. Acta Geotech 11:925–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fanzhen Meng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louis Ngai Yuen Wong
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hui Zhou
    • 3
  • Jin Yu
    • 4
  • Guangtan Cheng
    • 3
  1. 1.College of ScienceQingdao University of TechnologyQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong KongPokfulamChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  4. 4.Institute of Geotechnical EngineeringHua Qiao UniversityXiamenChina

Personalised recommendations