Estimation of Fracture Toughness of Anisotropic Rocks by Semi-Circular Bend (SCB) Tests Under Water Vapor Pressure
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In order to investigate the influence of water vapor pressure in the surrounding environment on mode I fracture toughness (KIc) of rocks, semi-circular bend (SCB) tests under various water vapor pressures were conducted. Water vapor is one of the most effective agents which promote stress corrosion of rocks. The range of water vapor pressure used was 10−2 to 103 Pa, and two anisotropic rock types, African granodiorite and Korean granite, were used in this work. The measurement of elastic wave velocity and observation of thin sections of these rocks were performed to investigate the microstructures of the rocks. It was found that the distribution of inherent microcracks and grains have a preferred orientation. Two types of specimens in different orientations, namely Type-1 and Type-3, were prepared based on the anisotropy identified by the differences in the elastic wave velocity. KIc of both rock types was dependent on the water vapor pressure in the surrounding environment and decreased with increasing water vapor pressure. It was found that the degree of the dependence is influenced by the orientation and density of inherent microcracks. The experimental results also showed that KIc depended on the material anisotropy. A fracture process was discussed on the basis of the geometry of fractures within fractured specimens visualized by the X-ray computed tomography (CT) method. It was concluded that the dominant factor causing the anisotropy of KIc is the distribution of grains rather than inherent microcracks in these rocks.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-014-0665-y
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