pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 124, Issue 4–5, pp 677–692 | Cite as

Slow crack growth in minerals and rocks: Theory and experiments

  • M. Darot
  • Y. Gueguen


Strength and mechanical behavior of rocks and minerals are modified by aqueous environments. This results in two effects: mechanical and chemical. The chemical effect is investigated from both a theoretical and an experimental point of view. It is shown that a thermodynamic approach leads to a satisfactory understanding of the chemical effect through an ‘extended griffith concept’. Predictions of the model have been tested using slow crack growth experiments. The experiments have been performed with a special Double Torsion apparatus which was built for this purpose. The good agreement observed between theory and experiments suggests that subcritical crack growth in rocks is controlled by adsorption onto the crack tip. This result was previously suggested by other authors (Dunninget al., 1984). However, the important consequences of the model are that (1) there should exist a threshold stress below which subcritical crack growth stops, and this threshold depends on the environment; (2) subcritical crack growth and time-dependent phenomena could take place in the crust in a stress interval which could be as high as 50% of the rupture stress.

Key words

Stress corrosion surface energy adsorption double torsion quartz 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Darot
    • 1
  • Y. Gueguen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Physique du GlobeStrasbourg CedexFrance

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