Physico-Mechanical Characteristics of Freeze–Thaw Weathered Gneiss based on Accelerated Laboratory Experiments

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jeong-Gi Um, Pukyong National University, Busan, South Korea
An experimental study of physical weathering was performed on fresh and slightly weathered gneiss samples from the Wonju area of South Korea. The study investigated changes in the physico-mechanical properties of these samples during accelerated laboratory-based weathering, including analyses of microfracture formation. The deteriorated samples used in the study were subjected to 100–150 freeze–thaw cycles, with index properties and microfracture geometries measured between each cycle. Each complete freeze–thaw cycle lasted 24 hours, and consisted of 2 hours of saturation in a vacuum chamber, 8 hours of freezing at –21°C ±1°C, and 14 hours of thawing at room temperature. Specific gravity and seismic velocity values were negatively correlated with the number of freeze–thaw cycles, whereas absorption values tended to increase. The amount of deterioration of the rock samples was dependent on the degree of weathering of the rock prior to the start of the analysis. Absorption, specific gravity, and seismic velocity values can be used to infer the amount of physical weathering experienced by a gneiss in the study area. The sizes and density of microfracture in the rock specimens varied with the number of freeze–thaw cycles. It was found that box fractal dimensions can be used to quantify the formation and propagation of microfracture in the samples. In addition, these box fractal dimensions can be used as a weathering index for the mid- and long-term prediction of rock weathering. The present results indicate that accelerated-weathering analysis can provide a detailed overview of the weathering characteristics of deteriorated rocks.