Failure Characteristics of Granite Influenced by Sample Height-to-Width Ratios and Intermediate Principal Stress Under True-Triaxial Unloading Conditions

Xibing Li, Fan Feng, Diyuan Li, Kun Du, P. G. Ranjith, Jamal Rostami

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The failure modes and peak unloading strength of a typical hard rock, Miluo granite, with particular attention to the sample height-to-width ratio (between 2 and 0.5), and the intermediate principal stress was investigated using a true-triaxial test system. The experimental results indicate that both sample height-to-width ratios and intermediate principal stress have an impact on the failure modes, peak strength and severity of rockburst in hard rock under true-triaxial unloading conditions. For longer rectangular specimens, the transition of failure mode from shear to slabbing requires higher intermediate principal stress. With the decrease in sample height-to-width ratios, slabbing failure is more likely to occur under the condition of lower intermediate principal stress. For same intermediate principal stress, the peak unloading strength monotonically increases with the decrease in sample height-to-width. However, the peak unloading strength as functions of intermediate principal stress for different types of rock samples (with sample height-to-width ratio of 2, 1 and 0.5) all present the pattern of initial increase, followed by a subsequent decrease. The curves fitted to octahedral shear stress as a function of mean effective stress also validate the applicability of the Mogi–Coulomb failure criterion for all considered rock sizes under true-triaxial unloading conditions, and the corresponding cohesion C and internal friction angle φ are calculated. The severity of strainburst of granite depends on the sample height-to-width ratios and intermediate principal stress. Therefore, different supporting strategies are recommended in deep tunneling projects and mining activities. Moreover, the comparison of test results of different σ23 also reveals the little influence of minimum principal stress on failure characteristics of granite during the true-triaxial unloading process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1345
Number of pages25
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Failure criterion
  • Failure modes
  • Intermediate principal stress
  • Rockburst
  • Sample height-to-width ratios
  • True-triaxial unloading

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