Sandstone specimens with different grain sizes were tested under uniaxial compression at a range of strain rates to investigate the coupled influence of strain rate and grain size on the mechanical behaviour of sandstone. Average grain sizes of sandstones were 105.4 µm (fine grained, FG), 228 µm (medium grained, MG) and 321 µm (coarse grained, CG), and the considered strain rates were 10−6, 10−5, 10−4 and 10−3 S−1. We used an optical deformation and strain measuring system for all the tests to determine the deformation characteristics of specimens during loading. The peak strength was observed to increase non-linearly with an increasing gradient against logarithmic strain rate for FG sandstone, while the trend was a linear increase for MG sandstone and unsystematic for CG sandstone. The relationships of elastic modulus versus logarithmic strain rate for the three types of sandstones showed similar trends as for the peak strength. This observation suggests that the FG sandstones are more responsive to strain rate compared to coarser-grained sandstones and this was attributed to the differences in micro-crack development patterns of sandstones with different grain sizes. A surprising behaviour was observed for CG sandstone, which displayed an increase of strength at the slowest strain rate, reversing the general decreasing trend of strength with decreasing strain rate. Stress redistribution associated with grain fracturing was proposed as a possible mechanism to explain this counter-intuitive behaviour. Finally, the results of this paper suggest that the size of constituent grains is a critical parameter that needs to be incorporated in considerations of the mechanical behaviour of sandstones under different strain rates.
- Grain size
- Strain rate