Reaction rnecanlque des roches soumises a la fatigue
Mechanisches Verhalten der Felsen unter Beanspruchung

Professor Istituto di Scienze Minerarie
Universit~ di Bologna

After briefly considering the phenomenon of fatigue in rocks and illustrating the importance of
such a phenomenon in the planning of rock structures and in comminution, the main studies on'the
subject are reviewed.
Experimental results are then reported, in relation to research we carried out at the Mining
Science Institute of the University of Bologna, stressing the importance of laboratory test
standardization in order to obtain results, which can be easily applicable to pratical cases.

A~r~s avoir bri~vement consid~r~ 1: ph~nom~ne de la fatigue des roches et en avoir illustre Ie
role en ce qui concerne la concep,t1on des structures en roche et la comminution, l'on fait r~f~-
rence aux principales ~tudes existantes et concernant ce sujet.
Ensuite, on mentionne les r~sultats d'une recherche experimentale ex~cut~e par l'Institut des
Sciences Mini~res de l'Universit~ de Bologne, en soulignant l'importance de la normalisation
des essais de laboratoire afin d'obtenir des donnees que l'on puisse rapporter au reel.

Nach kurzer Einordnung des Ph~nomens der Beanspruchung in den Felsen und der Illustration der
Wichtigkeit dieses Ph~nomens bei der Projektierung der Strukturen im Fels und im Splitterbruch
werden die wichtigsten Studien zum Thema in Erinnerung gerufen. '
Anschliessend werden die Resultate einer im Istituto di Scienze Minerarie der Universitat Bolo-
gna durchgefUhrten experimentellen Untersuchung aufgefUhrt und die Wichtigkeit ,einer Standardi-
sierung der Laborversuche hervorgehoben urn in der Praxis leicht anwendbare Resultate zu erhalten.

In many cases rocks are subjected to predict their behaviour at least in the most
periodically variable loads. In fact rock common cases, data about rocks are very scar-
constructions may be subject to vibrations ce; it seems therefore advisable to examine
due to earthquakes, explosions, traffic, w~r- the results obtained both in the laboratory
king of big machines etc .. Even rock mater1al of the Mining Science Institute of Bologna,
may be subject to cyclic loading in order to and in other laboratories, in order to see
drill or crush it. which definite results have already been ac-
In the presence of a cyclic loading, quired and on which points it is desirable
both to guarantee the stability of the struc- to concentrate research-works, considering
ture which is subject to it (tunnels, founda- practical application, that is the determina-
tions of dams or industrial structures etc.) tion of allowable loads for rock structures
and toe:iCploit the load for comminution, it and of loads and ways of application in order
is necessary to know the behaviour of rocks. to improve rock drilling and crushing as the
It is therefore necessary to study rock final objective.
fatigue. With this in mind, that is thinking of
The study of fatigue behaviour of mate- practical applications, it is very important
rials began since the beginning of the 19th to consider that the tests can usually be
century for metals; however, as mentioned by performed only in laboratory on little 'sam-
Nordby (12), non metallic materials, particu- pl~s of rock ma~erial. The possibility of
larly cement, began to be studied only about uS1ng data obta1ned from tests in planning
1900. Concrete may be considered as an arti- is questionable even in the case of metals,
ficial rock, and therefore its behaviour is which are homogeneous materials with constant
probably similar to that of some natural and well-determined characteristics. It is
rocks; yet significant studies carried out therefore evident how uncertain the applica-
on natural rocks began much later and the tion of these results is in'the study of a
first interesting results were obtained in rock mass w~ich is.n~arly always heteroge-
the last 15 years. neous and w1th fam1l1es of discontinuities,
Thus, while for metals there exists, whose presence often determines its behaviour.
if not a complete theory, a remarkable number Thus it's necessary to keep in mind
of experimental data, making it possible to that all laboratory tests are conventional

- 65-

which fatigue. for rocks nearly al. continuous component of stresses. Frequencies ranging from a 4.1 Hz. and tensile stresses were generally chosen ries according to a sinusoidal path or a so as to be in the same relationship to their triangular path. stic emissions and by microscopic examina. com~ pressed or not. this can be done using destructive frequency was either 0. been carried out using the pulsating cycle In some cases it is possible to observe shown in fig. ding to symmetric or asymmetric laws. tests were carried out at room temperature. The stress applied varied from a maximum.7. After comparing the results it was seen ted tests stresses vary according to random that. tension or shear. in al- the material for a great number of times. or they c . below such limit showed a remarkable increase It should be noted that. 60' of ultimate compression strength.11. such tests can be carried out also in the pre- sence of confinement stresses with dry mate- rial or material saturated with liquids. and Farmer (I). two preceeding notes (2. dolomites. tally and is usually graphically represented For example. also deforma. some others did tals in these curves the value of Sa is not find considerable variations (7).13. research workers is a function of stress.the phenomenon of fatigue failure does which the real stress rate to which the mate.25 Hz (9. on the contrary.4.9. gue. some Authors found ordinate. I. ··-66- . in In fatigue studies the variable forces the case of tension cycles it is about may change in sign (alternate cyc~e) accor. some interesting studies carried out in city and easy comparibility. The tests took into consideration the 2. COMMON EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN FATIGUE most common rock materials: sandstones. even for fatigue tests. Sa is defined as the algebraic the case of tension-compression cycles may range from maximum values of the same fatigue resistance is reduced to values sign (pulsating cycle). log N = 0. and the most important results obtained are illustrated below. at least by plotting. by recording acou.10. gation on the influence of pulsating nical equipment for the lowest frequencies loads on the resistance of rocks is in pro- and electromagnetic or sonic equipment for gress. Attwell stress. the point within the limits of the cycles applied. 0. sometimes it is applied by respective ultimate strengths.05 Hz or 0. of the tests have already been described in BesidesW5hler's curves. examining a dolomite within Depending on load conditions to be stu.20-20 Hz. all samples examined were homoge- The fatigue phenomenon may be referred neous and small in size. that of standardizing In spite of the limited number of expe- methods which. data to compare the various materials and. in any case amplitude of around 30' of the ultimate strength.5.1 In our Institute an experimental investi- kers and applied using oleodynamic or mecha. this does not cause ambiguity. ex- pressed as a percentage of static ultimate tions. b . ral data are mentioned below: all tests have ned using fatigue tests. at least within the limits of cases a variation law applies to deformations the cycles applied. steps or by impulses. due to technical reasons. mar- TESTS bles. which were usually sinusoidal or trian- a sample of the material to be examined to in.10) to 10 KHz (5). In the most common case force va. 4. obtained contrasting results.and that their main goal is that of providing 3. The results concerning the influence of ways maximum stress Smax is plotted. up ternate cycles maximum values of compression to failure. plotted on the ordinate. 60-65' of ultimate tensile strength. rial will be subjected is recorded. applied. rimental works on rock behaviour under fati- should be characterized above all by sempli. limestones. alternate compression-tension cycles were The fatigue tests consist of subjecting used. is derived experimen. cles ranged from 0. applied by means of an oleo- the variations of the characteristics of the dynamic system developed in the laboratory of material according to the number of cycles the Institute. using more sophistica. PREVIOUS RESEARCH. furthermore. as equally contrasting. when it is submitted to repeated stresses of pulsating compression or tension cycles or a certain extent. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS few fractions of Hertz to several tens of KHertz have been considered by research wor. varies from 80' to rather that s t re sse s . while Bur- in this case minimum stress is either the sa. the number of cycles which is necessary to ting cycles of compression. although tests varied from case to ca- laws or to laws in which the trend of the se.3). in the opinion of the writer. As for other aspects of behaviour under The fatigue life of the the case of compression cycles the ce between maximum and minimum stresses and presence of a compression radial stress medium stress Sm which is defined as the enhances percent resistence to fatigue. the last few years (1. in the rocks examined: stresses is controlled by a magnetic tape on a . It should be kept in mind that in some failure. Only a few gene- tions and stresses applied vs time are obtai. The curve obtained is referred to that rocks subjected to compression cycles as W5hler's curve. Apart from a·preliminary test. the or non-destructive methods. on the cycle frequency on fatigue resistance were other hand. dine (4) did not find a considerable influen- me in all tests or correlated to maximum ce in a sandstone within 15-50 Hz. d . quartzites and granites. the case of compression cycles only. The equipment used and the condttions the highest ones. found that as frequency increases died. reach failure increases according to the law: or to alternate cycles of compression-tension.14) pense of theoretic refinements. occur. for each sample.01. for example. rock materials are subjected to pulsa. while for me.8. only some rocks. sho- having the logarithm of the number of cycles wed a fatigue limit. even at the ex. in pulsating cycles minimum stresses creasing and decreasing forces whose maximum in absolute value were set slightly higher value must be lower than the resistance of than zero. The frequency of cy- to as a progressive damage of a material. in the pre- on the abscissa and the failure stress on the sence of such a limit.98 log f + 3. in ultimate resistance (10).

01 Hz Gypsum D 7.5 101 12.000 cycles. extremely homogeneous and uniform material. timate strength.02 . Gypsum behaved in a completely different way: it did not break. using Fig. d . letters A. These curves are shown in fig. .05 As for materials A.2 In the first study.753 to 0. W~hler's curves up to 10.' failure at frequencies of 0. 4 and 5 for compression.fatigue resistance per cent decreases pas- 60 sing from compression.B) and 75% (C) of static ul- is very close to zero (1-2 MN/m2). . t the fatigue test consisted of pulsating com- pression.3 The second study focused on a more de- tailed analysis of the phenomenon of fa- tigue. to shear tests.the fatigue limit is revealed in all cases in a more or less evident fashion. Fig. which was limited to nine. was confirmed also by failure tests on samples which did not break after 10. frequency being equal to 0. Thus gypsum does not seem to be subject to fatigue. when wet material is used its resistance value per S% cent is smaller than that found in dry ma- terial. as compared to other rocks. in fact. a marly limestone. The maIn features of the- se rocks are listed in Table 1. and a minimum that about 60-65% (A. while in ° the sandstones and in the limestone no appre- s ciable variations in ultimate strength were observed. tension and shear ves are shown in fig.strength (obtained by applying the load at a the three materials have fatigue limits of speed of about 0. to tension. Tests on compression.5 (\) (MN/m2) (MN/m2) 29 Saturated 84 5. tension and shear is and a gypsum. 2.000 cycLes.000 cycles have the same initial resi- 40 stance.05 Hz.282 SandstoneB 2.575 application of the load on fatigue failure wi- thin very low frequencies ranging from 0.4\ and resi- we examined two sandstones.000 cycles.these being i~dicatedby the shown in Table 2. details of which are to be found in re- compression fatigue tests on dry rocks. for further Table 2 data see (2). in order to understand this phenomenon clearly t~e study was limited to a single. tension and shear respective- ly. The next se- 100 ries of tests was aimed at determining W~hler's curves. tension and shear stresses.C and D. Table 1 Static Strength(MN/m2) Material Compression Tension Shear Static Strength ~t:>dulus of RockType Porosity to Compression Deformation Dry 122 10. In our investigation we set maximum stress at 80\ of the resistance of the material and measured the number of cycles necessary for Frequencyin these testswas 0.5 23 SandstoneA 13 53 11.1 Hz. both for dry (a) and water-saturated mate- rial tb). they did not suffer detectable da- 1 10 mages or show improvement of their strengths. 4. 1 both dry and water saturated material.for the three types of stresses.0.1 Hz.5 MN/m2). ference (3).5 165 26.01 . . at least up to 10.B and C we obtaIned and 0.1 Hz.0. 3. such cur.193 The first set of tests was aimed at re- Marly vealing the possible influence of frequency of LimestoneC 1 218 73. 2 -67 - . an increase in resistance of over 10\ was noticed in gypsum. The rock examined is a fine-grained sand- stone taken from a quarry in the Tuscan Appen- 4.those samples which did not break after 100. c . b . not even when it was subjected to a maximum load equal to 95\ of ultimate strength. stance to compression.B. It can be seen that stresses showed that failure does not depend on frequency in a considerable way. 80 The analysis of the results showed: c a . its porosity is 3. The different behaviour of gypsum.

6. 100 100 80 80 S% S% a 60 80 b 40 1 10 1~ 40 1 10 N Fig. who noticed an analogy with the curves. C and D. Some subsidiary measurements that we car. ment was observed in any of the tests. then decreases and subsequently increases again when the sample is about to break. varied from a few Newtons to maximum values Deformation curve under maximum load in between 60\ and 95\ of those necessary to function to the number of cycles. pointed out by other Authors (7-12). shown in fig. Thus -~- .000 cycles no displace- closer to failure. load scheme is shown in fig. rectified and kept under This behaviour. is similar to that found by Haimson (9).4 Understanding of fatigue behaviour of ried out during the tests can give further rock masses subjected to pulsating cy- information on the behaviour of the material. 5 Small blocks of rock. cles is based on the knowledge of cyclic loa- More precisely. in the second it is constant. the phenomenon indicated by the letters B. These observations are Fig. 3 faces were smoothed. 6 40 1~ T 1 10 N Fig. which is cause sliding. 100 80 1 2 3 S% 60 • N Fig. N scontinued after an ever increasing number of cycles did not show remarkable differences as compared to the initial material in the first two stages. ding effect on friction between rock mate- culated stress-strain curves as a function of rials. 4. which evident and gradual in compression tests. whose contact sur- Fig. 7 confirmed by some measurements of sound pro- pagation velocity in those samples which were At least up to 10. found in creep tests. In order to know this a preliminary time: remarkable hysteresis phenomena were enquiry was made. in the third it increa- ses rapidly up to failure. Also in this ca- se three stages can be observed: in the first one the deformation rate decreases. which has already been pressure with a normal stress of 39 MN/m2. for some samples we cal.7. using the ro~ks previously noted in the first cycles. 4 Microscopic examination of samples where N fatigue tests under compression had been di. is more were subjected to a pulsating load T. partly in the grains an par- tly in the cement. whereas in the third stage micro- fractures in the sense of the application of load were found.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS These results need further verifications. it ~hould be reminded. in Geologic Structures and Ma- . a thorough study of fa.000 cycles. 8020. or rather they are not detected. will certainly prove useful. HAIMSON. in many o~ them. P. Washington. Subalpina stability and collapse. Eng. D. the phenomenon must be considered carried out ~n the Rock Mechanics Laboratory carefully as instability of rock masses de. 71 . The coefficient of friction between two terials. water. 1. we can see that it increases up tests. then a stage lS pp . CRUDEN. no. .1. The Pennsylvania State Univers. "Stablll ty of Rock Slopes . pp .The Static Fatigue of Britt- .Contributo allo studio spe- the third and last stage microcracks join and rimentale della resistenza a fa- propagate within the sample according to an tlca delle rocce accelerated and progressive prQcess up to in. on Rock Mech. Inv. and Fatigue Mechanlsm ln Rock wable stresses in structures. 11. of Rock Under CYCllC Fatl~ue These values refer to dry rocks and de. When planning rock structures subj7ct to ISBN 0-309-02246-0 variable loads it is necessary to lden. 69- . tion of a pulsatine load.100. 373 . at the" Ls t i t u t o di Scienze Mi ne rari. no. a few useful conclusions can be drawn: 6. 1976 stals and at ~heir borders. 2. Sci. was obtained by laboratory tests and trary. in 3. . B. if we measure the force which is ne.21 From a practical point of view.i~ is Slon possible to identify a fatlgue llmlt Tii't:" J. If.8 mation by microseismic emission ~etection. 1 . Mech.we accep~ ~his Anno 15th.4. Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. 2. BRIGHENTI. Following the most widely accepted inter. Almost all brittle rocks are subject to le Rock Under UnlaXlal Compres- fatigue failure. Loading Condltlons ved in our laboratory by microscopic examina. . Illinois. 5. 1 . Pet. after 10 000 . CONCLUSIONS REFERENCES / BIBLIOGRAPHIE / LITERATUR According to what has been said in the 1.T. G. cessary to cause such displacement at the end . HAIMSON. CAIN. HAIMSON. studymg fracture for.cri. et Al . D.9 that illustrated by Cruden ln the case of creep {6).it can be said that cyclic load does not re. Boll.3.C.74 reached where further damages are not caused. it would seem that pulsating cycles cause a sort of "glueing" between surfaces. Rqck .M. crease if the rock is saturated with 13th Symp. Rock. nuous surfaces rather than on the behaviour The project was in part supported by the of intact material. which are being'made in our laboratory.C. which seem to be the most sUl~able 8.J.Rock Failure Under Dynamic The same phenomenon was partially obser.Mechanical Behavior of for practical application as less tlme Rock Under C*CllC Loadlng is needed. The values of these forces go back ·to the experience gained with the construc- the initial values if the surfaces are sepa. Vol. et Al . Obviously. .B. Vol.378 fatigue. needs further verifications. Bologna University. 1974 ' culations on the basis of resistance to pp. BURDINE. N. no. 9. 845 . tion of other works. Urbana. 1 .Mechanical Behavior of compression-tension cycles. 1. 1 . rock blocks increases with the applica. G. et Al . no. 10. Sci.9 ' related to brittle fracture. . The phenomenon of fatigue can be used 1971 for comminution. P. finally.73 ultimate strength in the case of pulsa- ting cycles and equals 30% in the case 7. BRIGHENTI. the phenomenon of fati.C. complex one. pp . materiall rOCClOSl sent in rocks and new microcracks are caused L'Industrla Mlneraria during the first cycles both in grains or. ATTEWELL. pp . pre-existing microcracks are pre. Mln. did not find always the progresslve process 5.Fatigue Behaviour previous paragraphs.Acoustic Emission ple to the determination of maximum allo. et Al . 67 . 44% for rock C and 24% for results and therefore be able to reiy on rock D. Min.Rock Fragmentation by described above' it might well be that the High-Fretuency Fatlgue phenomenon of fatigue is different depending Bureau 0 Mlnes on the material and our knowledge still in Rep. National Academy of Sciences tify the loading cycle and work out cal. 1. . B. this result duce the coefficient of friction.5. Assoc.2. 4. 27. 1963 however that Haimson.863 tigue in the case of high-frequenc~ cy- cles. Conference on Acoustlc EmlSSlon cessary to follow prudential criteria. On the con. Mech . however.Sui fenomeni di fatica nei pretation. J. In rocks showing a predominantly Vol. It is essential to standardize fatigue of the test. Soc.e" of pends very often on sliding along disconti. 1978 hypothesis the phenomenon l~ very Slmllar to pp . rated and then approached again. 6. 1975 the initial phase. 3. as it is difficult to apply the results obtained from a sam. it is the only way to compare all to III for rock B.C. at The studies described in this paper were any rate. Advances lnock Mechanlcs . tions of a few samples. Min. B. Vol. This li. it is ne. of Rock gue failure in rock materials appears a very Int. 1974 mit is u~ually higher than 60% of static pp . Aug 30-Sept 1 . J. 1973 elastic behaviour collapse is perhaps to be pp.

57 . 40136 BOLOGNA ( Italy ) pp. PENG.Brighenti .The Behavior of Salem Limestone in Cycllc Loadlng Soc. HARDY. 10.55 Journal of the American Concrete Inst. 1. KHAIR. G. 1974 pp .W. A. 191 -219 13. August 1958 pp. . 1977 rials. June 1975 Viale Risorgimento 2.5. 19 -24 during Laborator~ Fatlgue Tests on Tennessee San stone Conference on Acoustlc Emission 14.A Review of Research pp. A. Istituto di Scienze ~tinerarie. 14. June.xford. ROBERTS.Fatigue of Concrete . Petro Eng. 5. 35 . . no. et Al . NORDBY. 1975 12.GeotechnOlOg~ in Geologic Structures and Mate.M. The Pennsylvania State University G. 11.A Study of Acoustic Emission Vol.. Pergamon Press. J.85 -70- .Professor.