Mechanical Properties of Rock

Horino, Frank G. ; Hooker, V. E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION The determination and use of mechanical properties of rock in engineering and rock mechanics are rapidly developing. Many of these properties are determined on intact rock specimens; thus, their application and repre¬sentation of rock mass properties may be limited. How¬ever, relative information often provides useful guidance in the solution to mine design and stability problems. Summarized in this chapter are some of the stan¬dardized techniques and procedures currently used to obtain these mechanical properties. Typical applications of the use of these properties are also presented. Stan¬dardized techniques include those advanced by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM), US Bureau of Mines (USBM), Canadian Dept. of Mines and Technical Surveys, South African Institute of Min¬ing and Metallurgy, and other individual investigators. Information on the mechanical properties of rock and the behavior of the rock under a given system of stresses represents a necessary part of the information for rational engineering design for any given mining op¬eration. The mining method, the type and extent of sup¬port, the extraction ratio, the overall dimensions of the mine, and the orientation of the rooms and pillars are all decisions that are influenced by the mechanical prop¬erties of the ore, roof, and floor material under various stress systems and the magnitude and direction of the in situ stresses (Hooker, Bickel, and Aggson, 1972). Initial mechanical property information regarding a structure or mine property is generally obtained by two basic techniques: (1) static and dynamic property tests are conducted on intact and fractured rock specimens of exploratory drill core, and (2) dynamic properties are obtained by borehole logging techniques. When mining access becomes available, and as the mining horizon is expanded, additional information can be ob¬tained to verify preliminary mine design values. This chapter presents some of the standardized tech¬niques and equipment currently used in obtaining me¬chanical property data in the laboratory. The properties considered are: (1) uniaxial compressive strength of intact rock core specimens, (2) uniaxial compressive strength of rock cores containing planes of weakness, (3) triaxial compressive strength of intact rock core specimens, (4) triaxial compressive strength of cores with a plane of weakness, (5) Young's modulus, (6) Poisson's ratio, (7) density or apparent specific gravity, (8) modulus of rupture, (9) indirect tensile strength, and (10) creep characteristics. Where possible, an at¬tempt will be made to evaluate each property measure¬ment in relation to the problems of rock mechanics and application of results. TEST SPECIMENS The selection and care of drill core for laboratory testing require some consideration. It is recognized that laboratory-determined properties are not necessarily rep¬resentative of an in situ rock mass property. However, relative information between beds or zones of interest is still valuable information in selecting mining horizons and preliminary design criteria. To provide statistical data the number of drill core samples selected to repre¬sent each of the areas of interest should be from a mini¬mum of three to a maximum of ten test specimens. A judgment must also be made on site as to whether the recovered drill core should be wrapped and sealed in plastic to preserve moisture. On the one hand investiga¬tions of air-dried and saturated specimens have shown that moisture significantly affects the elastic properties and strengths of many rock materials (Obert, Windes, and Duvall, 1946; Colback and Wiid, 1965); on the other hand it is apparent that most core drilling is done with water which may saturate the specimen to a greater extent than in the in-situ condition. Whether or not the decision is made to retain the moisture, the core should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after recovery for subsequent specimen preparation and testing. Specifications Shape: The shape of the specimens influences lab¬oratory testing in two ways: (1) time and cost of sam¬ple preparation and (2) strength of the material. Cy¬lindrical specimens of drill core are by far the least time-consuming to prepare for static or dynamic labora¬tory testing. In addition, the cylindrical shape lends it¬self to a more uniform stress distribution throughout the sample than other shapes, such as rectangles and hexa¬gons. The compressive strengths of various shapes have been studied (Grosvenor, 1963, and Price, 1960), and results indicate that the cylindrical specimens usually provide the highest strength for a given height-diameter ratio. However, reduction in strength from a cylindrical shape to a rectangular in situ pillar is not regarded as significant in relation to other considerations such as planes of weakness in a pillar or safety factors in the design process. Length-Diameter Ratio: The length-to-diameter ra¬tio, LID, has a significant effect on the compressive strength. Various recommendations have been made to use standard LID ratios ranging from 2 to 2.5 to 3 (ASTM, 1975c; ISRM, 1972). However, past work by others such as Obert, Windes, and Duvall (1946) has shown that excellent results can be obtained using LID ratios from 2 > (LID) > >/s. In selecting an LID ratio for testing, one should keep in mind the amount of material available for testing. In many instances, this may be limited. Thus, a shorter specimen such as 1: 1 LID may be necessary to provide enough test data for statistical analysis of results. Sec¬ond, it may be desirable to obtain elastic constants dur¬ing the test. This generally requires instrumentation such as linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs) or strain gages near the center of the specimen. In this case, an LID of 2.5 or 3 is desirable so that the instru
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