Investigating Effects of Fracture Aperture and Orientation on the Behaviour of Weak Rock Using Discrete Element Method

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of GeoShanghai 2018 International Conference: Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 2018, 3 pp. 74 - 81 (8)
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The effects of the fracture aperture and orientation on the behaviour of weak rock were numerically investigated using discrete element method (DEM). In this study, the mechanical behaviour of the intact and fractured rock specimens was simulated by adopting the discontinuum based software PFC3D. The rock specimens with various fracture apertures and orientations were replicated, and the effects of these two fracture characteristics were studied through triaxial tests. The flat-joint model was employed for simulating the stress-strain behaviour of intact rock and had the ability to reproduce the cementation effect. The smooth-joint contact model was utilised to simulate the sliding effect of the fractures. The effects of five different fracture orientations were investigated in the combination of three different fracture aperture categories, namely very tight, open, and moderately wide. It can be concluded that the strength of the fractured weak rock specimens reduces as the fracture aperture width increases. The amount of alternation in strength and deformability that were contributed by fracture apertures differed with the orientations of the fracture. With the fracture orientation that was parallel to the deviatoric loading, the effect of fracture aperture on the strength and deformability of the specimens was less evident.
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