L. Shi* C. C. Li† X. Zhang* X.-T. Feng* G. Wang*



A series of single-stage true triaxial compression (TTC) tests and multi-stage intermediate principal stress (σ2) loading tests were carried out on three types of brittle rock specimens in this study to examine the influence of σ2 and the validity of obtaining strength parameters by using a multi-stage loading method under true triaxial stress conditions.

There exists a critical σ2 at which the rock strength attains its ultimate value under both loading conditions. Under the same σ3 level, the critical σ2 is much smaller under the multi-stage σ2 loading compared with under the single-stage TTC. The test results also show that the strength determined under multi-stage σ2 loading is much smaller than that determined under single-stage TTC.

The strength difference can attain 39%. A lower strength is measured under multi-stage σ2 loading because the local fracture plane induced by true triaxial stress is parallel to the σ2, and the strength of the rock specimen containing this type of local fracture plane is not affected by σ2. On the contrary, rock damage accumulates during multiple loading and unloading cycles.

The current testing results indicate that the multi-stage loading test is not suitable for determining the strength envelope of brittle rock under true triaxial conditions.



compressive strength laboratory tests rocks/rock mechanics