Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 173–183 | Cite as

Effect of Water on Long-Term Strength of Column Rocks Based on Creep Behavior in Yungang Grottoes, China

  • Xiaojie Yang
  • Jiamin WangEmail author
  • Chun ZhuEmail author
  • Manchao He
Original Paper


The long-term strength of rock load-bearing elements is an important mechanical index to determine its bearing capacity and preservation when protecting cultural relics made of stone. In this paper, uniaxial compressive creep experiments of medium-coarse sandstone from the columns of the Yungang Grottoes were performed on both dried and water-saturated samples. The effects of rock-water interaction on the long-term strength of rocks and on the bearing capacity to evaluate safety were determined. The experimental results show that the instantaneous strength and long-term strength of the medium-coarse sandstone in a water-saturated state were lower than the dried samples. The creep properties of the saturated rock were more obvious and the time needed to achieve a steady state creep was longer. The safety factors of the long-term bearing capacity of water-saturated rocks were not high enough, which indicates the possibility of unstable damage to the columns. It is recommended to strengthen the column in a timely manner to prevent damage and potential safety issues, particularly waterproofing the columns for addition protection. Finally, these experimental results provide a reference for the long-term strength evaluation of rock columns, and provide a theoretical basis for waterproofing the World Cultural Heritage, Yungang Grottoes.


Yungang Grottoes Long-term strength Creep characteristic Bearing capacity Waterproof protection 



This work was supported in part by the State Key Laboratory of Deep Geomechanics and Underground Engineering and School of Mechanics and Civil Engineering (China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41672347) and Natural Science Foundation of Beijing Municipality (No. 8142032). We also express our thanks to the reviewers for their time and effort on reviewing this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Geomechanics and Deep Underground EngineeringChina University of Mining and TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Mechanics and Civil EngineeringChina University of Mining and TechnologyBeijngChina

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