Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 50, Issue 10, pp 2585–2600 | Cite as

Effect of Water Saturation on the Fracture and Mechanical Properties of Sedimentary Rocks

  • Debanjan Guha Roy
  • T. N. Singh
  • J. Kodikara
  • Ratan Das
Original Paper


Fracture and mechanical properties of the water saturated sedimentary rocks have been experimentally investigated in the present paper. Three types of sandstones and one type of shale were saturated in water for different periods of time. They were then tested for their index geomechanical properties such as Brazilian tensile strength (BTS), Young’s modulus (YM), P-wave velocity and all pure and mixed-mode fracture toughness (FT). FT was measured using semicircular bend specimens in a three-point bend set-up. All the geomechanical and fracture properties of the saturated rocks were compared together to investigate their interrelations. Further, statistical methods were employed to measure the statistical significance of such relationships. Next, three types of fracture criteria were compared with the present experimental results. Results show that degree of saturation has significant effect on both the strength and fracture properties of sedimentary rock. A general decrease in the mechanical and fracture toughness was noticed with increasing saturation levels. But, t-test confirmed that FT, BTS, P-wave velocity and YM are strongly dependent on each other and linear relationships exist across all the saturation values. Calculation of the ‘degradation degree’ (DD) appeared to be a difficult task for all types of sedimentary rocks. While in sandstone, both the BTS and mode-I FT overestimated the DD calculated by YM method, in shale BTS was found to give a closure value.


Fracture toughness Tensile strength Young’s modulus Saturation P-wave velocity 

List of symbols


Mode-I fracture toughness (mode-I FT)


Mode-II fracture toughness (mode-II FT)


Mixed-mode fracture toughness (mixed-mode FT)


Mode-I fracture toughness of a dry rock


Mode-II fracture toughness of a dry rock


Mixed-mode fracture toughness of a dry rock


Span of support roller


Brazilian tensile strength (BTS)


Brazilian tensile strength of a dry rock


Young’s modulus (YM)


Young’s modulus of a dry rock


P-wave velocity


P-wave velocity of a dry rock


Crack mouth opening displacement


Failure load of the semicircular bend specimen


Failure load of tensile disc


Thickness of the tensile disc


Diameter of the tensile disc


Notch length of fracture toughness specimen


Radius of fracture toughness specimen


Thickness of fracture toughness specimen


Mode-I non-dimensional stress intensity factor


Mode-II non-dimensional stress intensity factor


Young’s modulus-based degradation degree


BTS-based degradation degree


Fracture toughness-based degradation degree


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debanjan Guha Roy
    • 1
  • T. N. Singh
    • 2
  • J. Kodikara
    • 3
  • Ratan Das
    • 2
  1. 1.IITB-Monash Research AcademyIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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