Geotechnical & Geological Engineering

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 81–105 | Cite as

Effect of rock discontinuities on certain rock strength and fracture energy parameters under uniaxial compression

  • C. E. Tsoutrelis
  • G. E. Exadaktylos


Five series of test blocks of Pendeli marble with artificially created discontinuities of different crack densities (simulating three mutually orthogonal joint sets) were tested in uniaxial compression in order to study the effect of discontinuities on: (a) the compressive strength and the modulus of elasticity, and (b) certain fracture energy parameters expressed by the ratio WA/WV, where WA is the surface energy and WV the volume elastic strain energy. Mathematical relationships are derived similar to those suggested by other authors relating strength parameters to crack densities. Such relationships clearly show a reduction in strength with increased crack density. The experimental results obtained permit the extension of Persson's relation (which refers to ideal intact rock) to the more realistic case of discontinuous rock mass by introducing the appropriate term that takes into consideration the effect of rock mass discontinuities on the energy ratio WA/WV. A comparison between laboratory results and field observations was subsequently carried out assuming the rock mass to behave as a linearly elastic material, obeying the Hoek and Brown failure criterion. This comparison showed that laboratory results can be extended to larger scale. Furthermore, in order to predict the in situ strength and stability of a rock mass in uniaxial compression (which is of major importance in underground excavations) certain concepts are proposed based on laboratory tests, in situ investigations and first principles of linear elastic fracture mechanics.


Rock discontinuities uniaxial compression fracture mechanics stability scale effect 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. Tsoutrelis
    • 1
  • G. E. Exadaktylos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mining EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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