Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 289–302 | Cite as

Fracture Initiation and Propagation in a Brazilian Disc with a Plane Interface: a Numerical Study

Original Paper


In the present study, fracture initiation and propagation from a pre-existing plane interface in a Brazilian disc is investigated using a finite-discrete element combined method. Different fracture patterns, depending on the frictional resistance of the pre-existing crack or interface, are observed from the numerical simulation. It is found that when there is no or very little frictional resistance on the surfaces of the pre-existing crack, the primary fractures (wing cracks), which are tensile in nature and are at roughly right angles to the pre-existing crack, start from the tips of the pre-existing crack. As the friction coefficient increases, the wing cracks’ initiation locations deviate from the crack tips and move toward the disc center. Secondary fractures, which are also tensile in nature, initiate from the disc boundary and occur only when the length of the pre-existing crack is sufficiently long. The secondary fractures are roughly sub-parallel to the pre-existing crack. The failure load is found to be influenced by the friction coefficient of the pre-existing crack. A 38 % failure load increase can result when the friction coefficient changes from 0 to 1. A good understanding of the fracture initiation and propagation in the forms of primary and secondary fractures provides insight into explaining some fracture patterns observed underground.


Fracture initiation Fracture propagation Brazilian test FEM/DEM combined method Shear fracture Tensile fracture 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bharti School of EngineeringLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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