Dynamic Compressive Strength and Fragmentation in Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks

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Auriol S. P. Rae , Thomas Kenkmann, Vivek Padmanabha, Michael H. Poelchau, Frank Schäfer, Matthias A. Dörfler, Louis Müller


Brittle deformation at high strain rates results in intense fragmentation and rock pulverisation. For rocks, the critical strain rate at which this behaviour occurs is ~10^2 s-1. The mechanical properties of rocks at these strain rates can also be very different from their quasi-static properties. Deformation of rocks at these strain rates is uncommon in nature but can occur during fault rupture, landslide events, and meteorite impacts. In this study, we present results of high strain rate mechanical tests to determine the characteristic strain rate for rate-dependent brittle failure, and the fragment size and shape distributions that result from failure at these conditions. We investigated sandstone, quartzite, limestone, and marble and considered whether the fragment characteristics can be used as diagnostic indicators of loading conditions during brittle failure. We find that the characteristic strain rates, where the dynamic strength is twice the quasi-static strength, range between ~150 and 300 s-1 for rate-dependent brittle failure in the investigated lithologies. Furthermore, we use our results to demonstrate an empirical inverse power-law relationship between fragment size and strain rate for dynamic failure under uniaxial compression. On the other hand, we show that fragment shape is independent of strain rate under dynamic uniaxial loading.




Mechanics of Materials, Tectonics and Structure


Dynamic Failure, Strength, Strain Rate, Pulverised Fault Rocks, Brittle Deformation


Published: 2021-08-15 09:37

Last Updated: 2021-08-15 16:37


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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