Determination of Fracture Toughness of Anisotropic Rocks Under Water Vapour Pressure by Semi-Circular Bend Test
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Failure of rock materials is a process of crack propagation. Crack initiation takes place when the crack tip stress intensity K reaches a critical value called fracture toughness, K1C. The rock fracture toughness is known to be affected by the surrounding environment such as temperature, confining pressure and humidity. In order to examine the effect of humidity a series of semi-circular bend tests were performed under various water vapour pressures in a rock material that is known to be anisotropic. Water vapour promotes stress corrosion of rock and therefore the fracture toughness was found to have a decreasing trend with increasing water vapour pressure. The rate of decreasing the fracture toughness depends on the microcrack density that promotes the migration of water vapour into the rock. Also in an anisotropic rock the fracture toughness depends on the direction of crack in relation to the anisotropy of the rock material.
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