Investigation of Crack Propagation in Rock using Discrete Sphero-Polyhedral Element Method

Friday, 19 December 2014
Somayeh Behraftar1, Sergio-andres Galindo-torres1, Alexander Scheuermann2, Ling Li3 and David Williams2, (1)University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia, (2)University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, (3)Hohai University, State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing, China
In this study a micro-mechanical model is developed to study the fracture propagation process in rocks. The model is represented by an array of bonded particles simulated by the Discrete Sphero-Polyhedral Element Model (DSEM), which was introduced by the authors previously and has been shown to be a suitable technique to model rock [1]. It allows the modelling of particles of general shape, with no internal porosity. The motivation behind using this technique is the desire to microscopically investigate the fracture propagation process and study the relationship between the microscopic and macroscopic behaviour of rock.

The DSEM method is used to model the Crack Chevron Notch Brazilian Disc (CCNBD) test suggested by the International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM) for determining the fracture toughness of rock specimens. CCNBD samples with different crack inclination angles, are modelled to investigate their fracture mode. The Crack Mouth Opening Displacement (CMOD) is simulated and the results are validated using experimental results obtained from a previous study [2]. Fig. 1 shows the simulated and experimental results of crack propagation for different inclination angles of CCNBD specimens. The DSEM method can be used to predict crack trajectory and quantify crack propagation during loading.


1. Galindo-Torres, S. A., et al. "Breaking processes in three-dimensional bonded granular materials with general shapes." Computer Physics Communications 183.2 (2012): 266-277.

2. Erarslan, N., and D. J. Williams. "Mixed-mode fracturing of rocks under static and cyclic loading." Rock mechanics and rock engineering 46.5 (2013): 1035-1052.