Experimental investigation on mechanical damage characteristics of sandstone under triaxial cyclic loading

Sheng Qi Yang, P. G. Ranjith, Yan Hua Huang, Peng Fei Yin, Hong-Wen Jing, Yi Lin Gui, Qing Lei Yu

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70 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical damage characteristics of sandstone subjected to cyclic loading is very significant to evaluate the stability and safety of deep excavation damage zones. However to date, there are very few triaxial experimental studies of sandstone under cyclic loading. Moreover, few X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) observations have been adopted to reveal the damage mechanism of sandstone under triaxial cyclic loading. Therefore, in this research, a series of triaxial cyclic loading tests and X-ray micro-CT observations were conducted to analyse the mechanical damage characteristics of sandstone with respect to different confining pressures. The results indicated that at lower confining pressures, the triaxial strength of sandstone specimens under cyclic loading is higher than that under monotonic loading; whereas at confining pressures above 20MPa, the triaxial strength of sandstone under cyclic loading is approximately equal to that under monotonic loading. With the increase of cycle number, the crack damage threshold of sandstone first increases, and then significantly decreases and finally remains constant. Based on the damage evolution of irreversible deformation, it appears that the axial damage value of sandstone is all higher than the radial damage value before the peak strength; whereas the radial damage value is higher than the axial damage value after the peak strength. The evolution of Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio of sandstone can be characterized as having four stages: (i) Stage I: material strengthening; (ii) Stage II: material degradation; (iii) Stage III: material failure and (iv) Stage IV: structure slippage. X-ray micro-CT observations demonstrated that the CT scanning surface images of sandstone specimens are consistent with actual surface crack photographs. The analysis of the cross-sections of sandstone supports that the system of crack planes under triaxial cyclic loading is much more complicated than that under triaxial monotonic loading. More axial and lateral tensile cracks were observed in the specimens under cyclic loading than under monotonic loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-682
Number of pages21
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Asia
  • Fractures and faults
  • Geomechanics
  • Rock and mineral magnetism

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