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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


ROBERTS, D.P.. Numerical simulation of shear fracture evolution in laboratory-scale samples. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.8, pp.01-11. ISSN 2411-9717.

This investigation aimed to simulate the experiments performed by Nic Gay (Gay, N.C. 1976. Fracture growth around openings in large blocks of rock subjected to uniaxial and biaxial compression. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Minining Sciences and Geomechical Abstracts, vol. 13. pp. 231-243) on fracture growth around openings in blocks of rock subjected to uniaxial and biaxial compression, using the Elfen discrete element code. The results of the physical experiments indicated a number of trends that were successfully replicated in the numerical simulations, including crushing ahead of the face, the formation of a sub-vertical tensile fracture at centre-span, the formation of groups of fractures originating from the crushed face zone, the formation of large corner-to-corner fractures which precede sample failure, and linking of slot corner and sample corner fractures leading to sample failure. In addition, other features were apparent that were not reported by Gay. It is believed that these took the form of conjugate shear fractures (as reported by Gay in a previous paper) and other features that may have been altered or inhibited by the presence of pre-existing structure in the physical samples. It was found that the samples, though nominally made up of the same rock type, must have had significantly differing properties. The presence of preexisting structures may have contributed to this discrepancy. Strain measurements from the physical experiments were reasonably well matched, except where the gauge lay directly in the path of advancing fractures.

Keywords : shear fracture; modelling; Mohr-Coulomb criterion.

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