Testing Impact Load Cell Calculations of Material Fracture Toughness and Strength Using 3D-Printed Sandstone

  • Karina BarbosaEmail author
  • Rick Chalaturnyk
  • Benjamin Bonfils
  • Joan Esterle
  • Zhongwei Chen
Original Paper


Short impact load cell (SILC) tests provide insight on the dynamic breakage behaviour of rocks. The measured impact force to first fracture of a rock specimen is used to calculate properties such as fracture toughness, tensile strength, and stiffness. To explore the repeatability and performance of the SILC test and verify the underlying assumptions for interpreting the test measurements, a comprehensive SILC testing program was conducted using additively manufactured (3D-printed) sandstone. 3D-printed sandstone specimens with known mechanical properties were used to indirectly determine the mechanical properties of specimens from SILC test measurements with respect to different sizes (from 5 to 12 mm diameter), shapes (sphere, flattened sphere, ellipsoid, and cylinder) and fabric orientations (i.e. angle variation of microstructures relative to the impact or loading direction). Unconfined compressive strength tests were also conducted on twin sets of various sized cylinder-shaped specimens to verify the estimation of compressive strength from the SILC test. Confidence in interpretation of SILC testing results is obtained by excluding the intrinsic material variability. Ultrahigh-speed digital camera was used to observe the fracture mechanism and to verify the force–time profiles against specimen physical response. Well-defined shaped specimens instead of irregular single-particles showed clear peaks corresponding to the force to first fracture on the force–time profiles. The study found that the minimum energy required to fracture the specimen, therefore the specimen strength, was strongly influenced by the shape effect.


3D-printed sandstone Impact breakage Geomechanical properties Scale effects 



The authors wish to thank the UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas (CCSG) and its industry members: APLNG, Arrow Energy, Santos, and Shell/QGC for financial support of PhD scholarship (UQ Project Number: 017851; RM Number: 2015000765), as well as the KOGAS for some funding assistance (UQ Project Number 019465; RM Number: 2016001957) for K. Barbosa. The authors wish to thank Dr. Kevin Hodder for the fabrication and provision of all 3DP-printed sandstone specimens. They would also like to thank Dr. Mohsen Yahyaei and Dr. Dion Weatherley for the helpful discussions, and Davide Pistellato for recording the videos with the ultra-high-speed camera.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors wish to declare that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication.


  1. Al Jassar SH, Hawkins AB (1977) Some geotechnical properties of the main carbonate lithologies within the Carboniferous limestone formation of the Clifton Gorge, Bristol. In: Proceedings of conference on rock engineering, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp 393–405Google Scholar
  2. Al Jassar SH, Hawkins AB (1979) Geotechnical properties of the Carboniferous limestone of the Bristol area—the influence of petrography and chemistry. In: 4th conference on international society for rock mechanics, Montreaux, vol 1, pp 3–14Google Scholar
  3. American Society for Testing and Materials (1991) ASTM D2938-86/95 standard test method for unconfined compressive strength of intact rock core specimensGoogle Scholar
  4. American Society for Testing and Materials (2000) ASTM D4543-85 practice for preparing rock core specimens and determining dimensional and shape tolerancesGoogle Scholar
  5. American Society for Testing and Materials (2013) ASTM D7012-13 Standard test methods for compressive strength and elastic moduli of intact rock core specimens under varying states of stress and temperatures. West Conshohocken, PAGoogle Scholar
  6. Attewell PB, Sandsford MR (1974) Intrinsic shear strength of a brittle anisotropic rock. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 11:423–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Basu A, Mishra DA, Roychowdhury K (2013) Rock failure modes under uniaxial compression, Brazilian, and point load tests. Bull Eng Geol Environ 72(3–4):457–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baumgardt S, Buss B, May P, Schubert H (1975) On the comparison of results in single grain crushing under different kinds of load. In: Proc 11th International Mineral Processing Congress, Instituto di Arte Mineraria e Preparazione dei Minerali, Cagliari, pp 5–32Google Scholar
  9. Bearman RA, Pine RJ, Wills BA (1989) Use of fracture toughness testing in characterizing the comminution potential of rock. In: Proceedings of MMIJ/IMM joint symposium, Kyoto, pp 161–180Google Scholar
  10. Bieniawski ZT (1984) Rock mechanics design in mining and tunneling. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p 272Google Scholar
  11. Bonfils B (2017) Quantifying of impact breakage of cylindrical rock particles on an impact load cell. Int J Min Proc 161:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bourgeois FS, Banini GA (2002) A portable load cell for in situ ore impact breakage testing. Int J Min Proc 65(1):31–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown ET, Richards LR, Barr MV (1977) Shear strength characteristics of the Delabole Slates. In: Proceedings of conference on rock engineering, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp 35–51Google Scholar
  14. Dan CC, Schubert H (1990) Breakage probability, progeny size distribution and energy utilization of comminution by impact. Aufbereit-Tech 31:241–247Google Scholar
  15. Donovan JG (2003) Fracture toughness based models for the prediction of power consumption, product size, and capacity of jaw crushers. Doctor of philosophy dissertation, Min Mineral Eng, Virginia Tech, BlacksburgGoogle Scholar
  16. Franklin JA (1985) Suggested method for determining point load strength. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 22(2):51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goldsmith W (1960) Impact: the theory and physical behaviour of colliding solids. Edward Arnold, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkins AB (1998) Aspects of rock strength. Bull Eng Geol Environ 57:17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hertz H (1881) On the contact of elastic bodies. J für die reine und angewandte Mathematik 92:56–171Google Scholar
  20. Hodder K (2017) Fabrication, characterization and performance of 3D-printed sandstone models. PhD thesis. Department of Chem Material Eng, University of AlbertaGoogle Scholar
  21. Huang J, Xu S, Yi H, Hu S (2014) Size effect on the compression breakage strengths of glass particles. Powder Technol 268:86–94. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. International Society for Rock Mechanics (1979) ISRM—suggested methods for determining the uniaxial compressive strength and deformability of rock materialsGoogle Scholar
  23. International Society for Rock Mechanics (1999) 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
  24. International Society for Rock Mechanics (2007) ISRM—the complete ISRM suggested methods for rock characterization, testing and monitoring: 1974–2006. In: Ulusay R, Hudson JA (eds) Suggested methods prepared by the commission on testing methods. ISRM, Compilation arranged by the ISRM Turkish National Group, Kozan ofset, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  25. Jaeger JC (1960) Shear failure of anistropic rocks. Geol Mag 97:65–72. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. King RP, Bourgeois FS (1993) Measurement of fracture energy during single particle fracture. Min Eng 6(4):353–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Komurlu E, Kesimal A, Demir AD (2017) Dogbone-shaped specimen testing method to evaluate tensile strength of rock materials. Geomech Eng 12(6):883–898. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Konietzky H, Ismael M (2017) Failure criteria for rocks—an introduction. In: Griebsch A (ed) Introduction into geomechanics. Geotech Inst TU Bergakademie, FreibergGoogle Scholar
  29. Kwasniewski M, Li X, Manabu T (2012) True triaxial testing of rocks. Geomechanics research series, vol 4. CRC Press, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Li D, Wong LNY (2013) The Brazilian disc test for rock mechanics applications: review and new insights. Rock Mech Rock Eng 46:269–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lois-Morales P, Evans C, Bonfils B, Weatherley D (2019) The impact load cell as a tool to link comminution properties to geomechanical properties of rocks (draft manuscript—personal communication)Google Scholar
  32. Masoumi H, Saydam S, Hagan PC (2016) Unified size-effect law for intact rock. Int J Geomech 16(2):04015059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Perras MA, Diederichs MS (2014) A review of the tensile strength of rock: concepts and testing. Geotech Geol Eng 32(2):525–546. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Primkulov B, Chalaturnyk J, Chalaturnyk RJ, Zambrano Narvaez G (2017) 3D printed sandstone strength: curing of furfuryl alcohol resin-based sandstone, 3D print. Addit Manuf 4(3):149–155Google Scholar
  35. Roshan H, Masoumi H, Regenauer-Lieb K (2017) Frictional behaviour of sandstone: a sample-size dependent triaxial investigation. J Struct Geol 94:154–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Saeidi F (2016) New approach for characterising a breakage event as a multi-stage process. PhD thesis, SMI, JKMRC, The University of QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  37. Santarelli FJ, Brown ET (1989) Failure of three sedimentary rocks in triaxial and hollow cylinder compression tests. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 26(5):401–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schönert K (1986) Advances in the physical fundamentals of comminution. In Somasundaran P (ed) Advances in mineral processing. Society of Mining Engineers, pp 19–32Google Scholar
  39. Schonert K, Umhauer H, Rumpf H (1962) Die Festigkeit kleiner Glaskugeln. Glastech Ber 35:272–278Google Scholar
  40. Tavares LM (1997) Microscale investigation of particle breakage applied to the study of thermal and mechanical pre-damage. PhD thesis, Department of Metal Eng, The University of UtahGoogle Scholar
  41. Tavares LM (2007) Breakage of single particles: quasi-static. In: Handbook of Powder Technology, Vol 12, pp 3–68Google Scholar
  42. Tavares LM, King RP (1998a) Microscale investigation of thermally assisted comminution. In: Proc XIX Int Min Proc Cong (IMPC), vol 36, pp 203–208Google Scholar
  43. Tavares LM, King RP (1998b) Single-particle fracture under impact loading. Int J Min Proc 54:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tavares LM, King RP (2004) Measurement of the load–deformation response from impact-breakage of particles. Int. J. Miner. Process. 74:S267–S277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yashima S, Kanda Y, Sano S (1987) Relationships between particle size and fracture energy or impact velocity required to fracture as estimated from single particle crushing. Powder Technol 51:277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Coal Seam GasUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Mechanical and Mining EngineeringUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research CentreUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Faculty of Engineering, Reservoir Geomechanics Research GroupUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations