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Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference

December 22-24, 2013, Roorkee



S. J. Shah, Associate Professor, IES College of Engg, Chittilappilly, Thrissur,

V. K. Sowmya, Asst. Prof., IES College of Engg, Chittilappilly, Thrissur,
T. R. Rajeswari, M.Tech. Student, IES College of Engg, Chittilappilly, Thrissur,

ABSTRACT: The rock samples are collected from Malabar region with the help of diamond core drilling. Some of
them are collected from nearby Kuthiran hills which is infamous for accidents. To provide a safe travel during all
seasons, a tunnel through Kuthiran hills is being planned. The direct compression test and the indirect Brazilian
tensile strength test are the main tests done in the laboratory to evaluate the parameters such as elastic modulus and
Poissons ratio etc. The parameters obtained from the laboratory tests are used for the analysis of proposed tunnel
section using the softwares MSC.Patran and MSC.Marc.

INTRODUCTION Kerala are used to carry out a three dimensional

The ability of rock to sustain significant loads finite element analysis of a proposed road tunnel.
gives a general impression that it is an excellent
material from the construction point of view. This GEOLOGICAL DETAILS OF ROCK
is not true for a rock mass as more often than not; SAMPLES COLLECTED FROM MALABAR
defects are present in rocks, resulting in the Ten different types of rock samples of
strength of rock mass being considerably less than metamorphic nature were obtained from various
that of intact rock. Design and construction in rock locations in Malabar region, the northern part of
requires an understanding and estimate of strength Kerala. The samples were collected from various
in compression, tension and the anisotropy of rock locations with the help of diamond core drilling.
which plays a major role in the engineering The diameter of rock core obtained was 50 mm.
response behavior under expected loading The rock samples are shown in fig. 1.

The large number of hydroelectric and other

projects in Himalayas have provided a good
opportunity to study challenging problems in rock
engineering. Recent and proposed projects in the
Malabar region in the neighbourhood of Western
Ghats have brought about a demand for the study
of rock properties and their behavior under
engineering loads. In this work, investigation is
being made into the compressive, tensile strength
and anisotropic behavior etc of the rocks in
Malabar region by collecting and subjecting the
rock samples to simple tests instrumented
compressive and indirect tension tests.
Fig. 1 Rock samples
The test results of rock samples collected from
Kuthiran hills which is on the NH 47 route Rock samples were identified on the basis of their
connecting Thrissur and Palakkad districts of minerals and the colour of their grains. The
samples obtained are different varieties of

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S. J. Shah, V. K. Sowmya & T. R. Rajeswari

metamorphic rock. They are basic charnockite, has been charted. Rock samples with 50 mm
intermediate charnockite, normal charnockite, diameter and 25 mm thickness were prepared for
gneissic charnockite, biotite gneiss, hornblende Brazilian test and samples with 50 mm diameter
biotite gneiss, hornblende gneiss, pyroxene were used for uniaxial compression test as per
granulate, peninsular gneiss, mica gneiss and ISRM suggested methods.
weathered gneiss. Here Basic charnockite, Details of the tests and instrumentation adopted to
Intermediate charnokite and Pyroxene granulate accurately measure the strains, the compression
are non foliated metamorphic rocks and remaining and tensile behavior using Brazilian test to estimate
are foliated rocks. These non foliated rocks except the indirect tensile strength, etc are presented in the
Pyroxene granulate were obtained from Kuthiran following sections.
SAMPLES Strain is necessary to find out the young's modulus
Density and porosity of the obtained rock samples and Poissons ratio. To accurately measure the
were found out using the ISRM suggested deformations and strains, an instrumentation set up
methods. The density and porosity of various was prepared using resistance type strain gauges.
samples are given in table 1. Strain gauges of length 3 mm with resistance 350
Ohms were used. The strain gauges had a Gauge
Table 1 Density and porosity of the rock samples factor of 2.1. The measurement system is
Rock type Density Porosity completely independent. During the tests, the axial
(kN/m2) force from the testing machine was recorded as an
external channel to synchronize the data with the
Basic charnockite 26.15 0.005 stressstrain data.

Intermediate 26.55 0.005 A read out unit was devised for the measurement
charnockite of strain obtained from two strain gauges. The read
out unit consists of a circuit which has two
Normal 32.4 0.019 wheatstone bridges connected with two
charnockite multimeters. Each multimeter gave the initial and
Gneissic 26.5 0.022 final voltage from the respective strain gauge to
charnockite which it was connected. From the initial (VI) and
Biotite gneiss 25.35 0.01 final voltage (VO), using the gauge factor(GF),
strain could be found out using (1).
Hornblende biotite 24.63 0.016
gneiss Strain,= -1/[{(GFxVI)/4VO}+{GF/2}] (1)

Hornblende gneiss 25.9 0.011 UNIAXIAL COMPRESSION TEST

Specimens of right circular cylinders having a
Pyroxene gneiss 26.53 0.005 height to diameter ratio of 2 were prepared by
cutting with a rock cutting machine. Strains were
Peninsular gneiss 26 0.02
measured by strain gauges. Two strain gauges were
Mica gneiss 24.48 0.024 mounted on each specimen, such that one strain
gauge recorded the axial compression and the
second strain gauge recorded the circumferential
EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME strain [1]. These strain gauges were pasted using
In order to estimate the strength properties of rock araldite on the curved face of the specimen one
from Malabar region, an experimental programme above the other. The specimen was then
compressed under a compression testing machine

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Compressive and Brazilian test on rock samples from Malabar and analysis of a tunnel through Kuthiran

with a spherical seating and the sample In the indirect Brazil tensile test, only the applied
arrangement is shown in fig. 2. The load was load and actuator movement are measured. The
measured. Uniaxial compressive strength, c, was compressive load is applied in a direction normal
calculated as the failure load divided by the initial to the specimen, circumferential surface inducing a
cross sectional area of the specimen. For all lateral tension to the specimen. The specimen is
uniaxial compression test specimens, the elastic loaded between two concave steel plates. This test
parameters, Youngs modulus (E) and Poissons was carried in accordance with specification of
ratio () were established. ISRM. Two strain gauges were mounted on the
either side of the Brazilian test specimen. The
orientation of the gauges was chosen such that one
gauge measured axial strain in the loading
direction and the other measured the strain
perpendicular to the loading.

The tensile strength (t) of the rock was calculated

from failure load (P), specimen diameter (d) and
specimen thickness (t) as t = 2P/dt.


All the rock samples were subjected to uniaxial
compression test as per the procedure suggested by
ISRM. For all uniaxial compression test specimens,
the failure load, failure stress, Youngs modulus
(Ec) and Poissons ratio (v) for each rock sample is
shown in table 2. The stress-strain curves for the
rock samples subjected to compressive loading
have been plotted and some typical curves are
presented. Fig. 3 depicts the compressive stress-
strain curve of Normal charnockite. This indicates
Fig. 2 Rock sample for compression test elastic-plastic type of sress-strain curves. Fig. 4
shows the stress-strain curves for Hornblende
BRAZILIAN TENSILE STRENGTH TEST biotite gneiss. This is an example of plastic-elastic-
Tensile strength of rock material is normally plastic behavior. The rocks of basic charnockite,
defined by the ultimate strength in tension, i.e., normal charnockite and pyroxene granulate show
maximum tensile stress the rock material can elastic plastic behabiour. While the Hornblende
withstand. Rock material generally has a low biotite gneiss, intermediate charnockite, Biotite
tensile strength. The low tensile strength is due to gneiss, Hornblende gneiss, Peninsular gneiss, Mica
the existence of microcracks in the rock. The gneiss and Gnessic charnockite type of rocks show
existence of microcracks may also be the cause of plastic-elastic-plastic behavior of stress-strain
rock failing suddenly in tension with a small strain. curve.
Tensile strength of rock materials can be obtained
from several types of tensile tests like direct tensile The fig. 4 shows linear stress-strain behaviour on
test, Brazilian test and flexure test. Direct test is the middle straight line portion of stresses from
not commonly performed due to the difficulty in 12738.85 to 50955.41 kN/m2. The slope of that
sample preparation. The most common tensile mid straight line portion gives the youngs
strength determination is by the Brazilian test modulus (E) as per reference [2]. Table 2 shows
which is adopted here. the failure load, failure stress and the elastic

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S. J. Shah, V. K. Sowmya & T. R. Rajeswari

Table 2 Uniaxial compression test results

Rock type Failur c Elastic Poisson

e load modulus s ratio
(KN) (kN/ Ec c
2 2
m) (kN/m )
Gneissic 113.5 57.83 2.19548 0.19
charnockite E+7
Normal 93 47.39 1.1687E 0.33
charnockite +7
Hornblende 159 81.02 6.58758 0.21
gneiss E+7
Biotite 128.5 65.48 3.13757 0.24
gneiss E+7 Fig. 4 Compressive stress vs axial strain of
Hornblende 133.5 68.03 5.1657E 0.27 Hornblende biotite gneiss
biotite +7
gneiss The fig. 3 shows linear stress-strain behaviour until
Mica 53 27.01 1.2758E 0.3 25477.71 kN/m2 stress. The slope of that mid
gneiss +7 straight line portion gives the youngs modulus (E).
Basic 270 137.5 7.23598 0.2 The initial part of the stress-strain curve shows
charnockite 8 E+7 elastic behaviour and the final curve shows plastic
Peninsular 190.5 97.07 3.10704 0.23 behaviour. So the stress-strain curve shows under
gneiss E+7 elastic-plastic behaviour. Same pattern follows for
Intermediat 166 84.59 5.33788 0.2 tensile stress vs lateral strain as shown in fig. 5 and
e E+7 fig. 6. For obtaining obtaining the poissons ratio,
charnockite the lateral strain vs linear strain was plotted for
Pyroxene 177 90.19 1.11538 0.22 each type of rock. Fig 7 shows the curve for
granulate E+8 Normal charnockite rock subjected to axial

Fig. 3 Compressive stress vs axial strain of Normal

Fig. 5 Compressive stress vs lateral strain of
Normal charnockite

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Compressive and Brazilian test on rock samples from Malabar and analysis of a tunnel through Kuthiran

Fig 8 shows the plot for lateral-stress vs linear (00, 300, 600, 900) [3,4]. For each orientation 3-5
strain for Hornblende biotite gneiss rock. The samples were tested. However elastic modulus and
initial part is linear. The slope of the linear portion Poissons ratio were calculated from instrumented
is taken as the Poissons ratio in all the cases. samples for 00 and 900 as there are the bounding
Table 2 shows the Poissons ratio for all the rock values. The Brazilian tensile strength test results
types when subjected to uniaxial compression test. are shown in table 3.

Fig. 6 Compressive stress vs lateral strain of

Hornblende biotite gneiss
Fig. 8 Lateral strain vs linear strain of
Hornblende biotite gneiss

The Brazilian tests were carried out after mounting

strain gauges in the longitudinal and lateral
directions on either side of the rock samples to
obtain the stress-strain behaviour under indirect
tensile loading. For all types of rock samples, the
tensile stress vs axial strain is plotted.

The stress strain behaviour of each foliation angle

(00 and 900) are shown (fig. 9, and fig. 10). These
stress strain curves are non linear. The slope of the
straight line portion of the curve gives the youngs
Fig. 7 Lateral strain vs linear strain modulus (E). Same pattern follows for tensile
of Normal charnockite stress vs lateral strain. The slope of the lateral
strain vs linear strain curve until its elastic limit
The Brazilian tests were carried out in accordance
with the ISRM recommendations. Laboratory tests The variation in Brazilian tensile strength (BTS)
were performed on the different rock types to with the foliation angle is plotted for all the
investigate the degree of anisotropy. Some rocks samples and one is shown in the fig. 11. The figure
were foliated and highly anisotropic. In total, 32 shows that for all the samples except Biotite
Brazilian tests were carried out in order to gneiss, higher tensile strength was at 900 foliation
determine the tensile strength in directions relative angle, i.e., when the layers are perpendicular or
to the planes of foliation, ranging from 00 to 900 horizontal with respect to the loading direction.

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S. J. Shah, V. K. Sowmya & T. R. Rajeswari

Table 3 Brazilian tensile strength test results Hornblende 12 6.11

Rock Type Failu c Youngs Poissons biotite
re modulu ratio gneiss (600)
load (kN/ s c Hornblende 16 8.15 3.1E+6 0.19
2 Ec biotite
(kN) m ) 2 gneiss (900)
(kN/m ) Normal 29.5 15.03 2.7E+6 0.23
Biotite 20 10.19 9.1E+6 0.13 charnockite
gneiss (0 ) (00)
Biotite 22 12.74 Normal 16 8.15
gneiss (30) charnockite
Biotite 23 11.72 (300)
gneiss (60) Normal 22 11.21
Biotite 25 11.21 5.4E+6 0.14 charnockite
gneiss (900) (600)
Mica gneiss 11 5.61 3.5E+5 0.21 Normal 31.5 16.05 6.6E+6 0.22
(00) charnockite
Mica gneiss 10 5.10 (900)
(300) Hornblende 23.5 11.97 1.6E+6 0.12
Mica gneiss 15 7.64 gneiss (00)
(600) Hornblende 25 12.74
Mica gneiss 18 9.17 2.4E+5 0.2 gneiss (300)
(90 ) Hornblende 29.5 15.03
Gneissic 23 11.72 2.6E+6 0.14 gneiss (600)
charnockite Hornblende 31.5 16.05 1.3E+6 0.18
(00) gneiss (900)
Gneissic 18.5 9.43 Basic 31 15.80 8.2E+6 0.17
charnockite charnockite
(300) Intermediate 29 14.78 1.2E+7 0.18
Gneissic 22.5 11.46 charnockite
charnockite Pyroxene 48.5 24.71 1.4E+7 0.18
(600) granulate
Gneissic 25 12.74 1.2E+6 0.14
charnockite The variation in the BTS with the foliation angle
(900) for biotite gneiss which have more tensile strength
Peninsular 17.5 8.92 1.6E+6 0.16 was at 300 foliation angle. Molecular bonds of the
gneiss (00) minerals present in the Biotite gneiss may be
Peninsular 24 12.23 responsible for the observed higher tensile strength
gneiss (300) 19.5 9.94 at 300 foliation angle. Investigation of that aspect is
Peninsular 24.5 12.48 6.9E+6 0.16 not attempted here. Similar reason is for the
gneiss (600) reduction of strength at 300 as well as at 600
Peninsular foliation angle present in the samples. From these
gneiss (900) graphs shows that these seven rock samples such as
Hornblende 12 6.11 2.1E+5 0.2 Biotite gneiss, Hornblende biotite gneiss, Gneissic
biotite charnockite, Hornblende gneiss, peninsular gneiss,
gneiss (00) Normal charnockite and Mica gneiss are
Hornblende 11 5.61 anisotropic rock. They shows various tensile
biotite strength with each foliation angle from same
gneiss (300) sample.

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Compressive and Brazilian test on rock samples from Malabar and analysis of a tunnel through Kuthiran

Fig. 11 Variation in BTS with foliation angle of

Fig. 9 Tensile stress vs axial strain of Hornblende Hornblende gneiss
biotite gneiss with 00 foliation angle

Fig. 10 Tensile stress vs axial strain of Hornblende

biotite gneiss with 900 foliation angle Fig. 12 Crack pattern at different foliation angles
for Mica gneiss subject to Brazilian test
Ten different types of rock samples are taken for The fig. 13 shows average fracture length vs
the test and all of them show central fracture. foliation angle. From these plots, it can be inferred
Fracture pattern have shown no significant rotation that the average fracture length varies with each
or other deviation along the sample thickness foliation angle. For Biotite gneiss and Hornblende
(plane fractures), that means, that both end surface biotite gneiss, the fracture length is more at 600
show very similar pattern. Therefore only end foliation angle. In Mica gneiss 00 foliation angle
surface photos from one side are shown in the has more fracture length. The remaining samples
fig. 12. have more fracture length at 900 foliation angle.

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S. J. Shah, V. K. Sowmya & T. R. Rajeswari

The pattern of fracture length vs foliation angle

conveys that the anisotropy of rocks plays an
important role in the strength.

Fig. 14 Map of the Kuthiran region (google map)

Table 4 Ratio between tensile elastic modulus and

compressive elastic modulus
Rock Type Average Youngs Et/Ec
value modulus
Et Ec
2 2
Fig. 13 Variation in average fracture length with (kN/m ) (kN/m )
foliation angle of Hornblende gneiss
Gneissic 1929130 2.19548E+7 0.09
Normal 4696115 1.1687E+7 0.40
Youngs modulus
Hornblende 1493925 6.58758E+7 0.023
Youngs modulus in tension (Et) is less than in
compression (Ec). Ratios between youngs
Biotite 7298910 3.13757E+7 0.23
modulus in tension (Et) and in compression (Ec) of
rock is about 0.023 to 0.4. Ratio is shown in the
Hornblende 1658368.8 5.1657E+7 0.032
table 4 [5].
Mica 300173.89 1.2758E+6 0.24
Poissons ratio
Poissons ratio in compression (c) is in the range
Basic 8.233E+6 7.23598E+7 0.114
of 0.19 to 0.33 and in tension (t) is 0.12 to 0.23
are shown in above table 2-3. Poissons ratio in
Peninsular 3456775 3.10704E+7 0.11
tension (t) is less than in compression (c)
Intermediate 1.213E+7 5.33788E+7 0.23
Pyroxene 1.496E+7 1.11538E+8 0.134
The map of the existing national Highway through
Kuthiran hills and the proposed tunnel alignment is
shown in fig. 14. The length of tunnel (800 m) is
Shape of the tunnel
marked with a black line in the fig. 14.
Three main shapes of highway tunnels are circular,
rectangular, and horseshoe or curvilinear. The
shape of the tunnel is largely dependent on the

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Compressive and Brazilian test on rock samples from Malabar and analysis of a tunnel through Kuthiran

method used to construct the tunnel and on the between -2.250x10-6 to 1.33x10-4. Hence the tunnel
ground conditions. Tunnel boring machine being section adopted is safe in both the types of rocks.
the popular method for the construction of tunnel a
circular shape is adopted for the proposed road
tunnel [6]. Here semi circular tunnel section is used
for analysis purpose.

Dimensions of the tunnel

The main purpose of the proposed road tunnel is
for travelling safely in all seasons through Kuthiran
hills. It is a part of NH 47 route. The width of the
tunnel is decided based on the requirements of a
two lane road. Dimensions of the tunnel are taken
as 11 m wide, 5.5 m high. Height of the model
taken for analysis is 33 m taking in to account the
possibility of arching. Fig. 15 Model showing boundary conditions


Using the properties of the rock samples from
Kuthiran hills, a finite element analysis is
performed to obtain the behaviour of a proposed
road tunnel. Finite element analyses were
performed by using MSC Patran for modeling and
MSC.Mentat as post processors with MSC Marc as
solver. For the size of tunnel stated, the whole
model is built in the size of 31 m x 33 m x 800 m
shown in the fig. 15 along with boundary
conditions for the model fixed in all directions on
the bottom side, normal direction on the side
boundaries. The linear Mohr-Coulomb criterion is Fig. 16 Total strain contours for Basic charnockite
adopted to describe the material behaviour of rock
mass. The two rock samples retrieved from CONCLUSIONS
Kuthiran hills along the alignment of the tunnel are 1. Of the rock samples from Malabar, basic
basic charnockite, and intermediate charnockite. charnockite, intermediate charnockite and
Their properties are given in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4. pyroxene granulate are isotropic rocks and
the remaining are anisotropic rocks.
Considering the self weight, the analysis is done Strongly anisotropic materials, like Gneiss
using MSC.Marc and the displacement and the reveal a strong dependence of the peak
maximum strains are obtained. The contour plot of strength on the sample orientation relative
strains obtained for the model analysed with to the loading direction.
material properties of basic charnockite are shown 2. Density range of these rock samples are
in fig. 16. The maximum strain taken by the Basic 24.48 to 32.4 kN/m3.
charnockite before failure is 2.54x10-3. Obtained 3. Porosity of the rock samples are 0.005 to
maximum strain from the analysis is between 0.024.
-1.635x10-6 to 9.66x10-5. The maximum strain 4. In uniaxial compression test, Basic
taken by the intermediate charnockite is 3.28x10-3. charnockite has maximum compressive
Obtained maximum strain from the analysis is strength (270) compared to other rocks.

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S. J. Shah, V. K. Sowmya & T. R. Rajeswari

5. Pyroxene granulate has high tensile REFERENCES

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foliation angle conveys that in many rocks, Isotropic Elastic Intact Rock Properties for
there is an influence of the foliation angle Insitu Stress Measurement Data Reduction: A
on the tensile strength and this has to be Case Study of the Olkiluoto Mica Gneiss,
taken into account during design. Finland, International Journal of Rock
7. For basic charnockite, normal charnockite Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Elsevier,
and pyroxene granulate, the stress strain 44, 14-46.
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seven samples are under plastic-elastic- R. W. (2000). Improving Elastic Modulus
plastic Measurements for Rock Based on Geology,
8. Almost all the rock samples taken from Environmental and Engineering Geoscience,
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12738.85 to 50955.41 kN/m2 stress and 3. Dan, D. Q., Konietzky, H. and Herbst, M.
after that it becomes non linear. Nearly (2013). Brazilian Tensile Strength Tests on
70% of the samples show this property. Some Anisotropic Rocks, International
9. The range of elastic modulii in compression journal for rock mechanics and mining
vary from 1.11538E+8 to 1.2758E+6 kN/m2 science, Elsevier, 58, 31-7.
and the tensile elastic modulii vary from 4. Tavallali A., Vervoort A.,(2010).,Effect of
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samples tested. sandstone under Brazilian test conditions.,
10. Elastic modulus in tension (Et) is less than International Journal of Rock Mechanics &
elastic modulus in compression (Ec). Ratios Mining Sciences.(Elsevier) 47, 313-322
between Et and Ec of rock is about 0.023 to 5. Jianhong, Y., Wu, F. Q. and Sun, J. Z.
0.4 (1996). Estimation of the Tensile Elastic
11. Poissons ratio in compression (c) is in the Molulus using Brazilian Disc by Applying
range of 0.19 to 0.33 and in tension (t) is Diametrically Opposed Concentrated
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The authors wish to acknowledge with gratitude,
DR. Syed Hussain Shah, Geotechnical Engg.
consultant, Prof. and Head of Civil Engineering,
KMEA Engg College, Aluva and DR. P. Vijayan,
Prof. and Head of Civil Engineering, Govt.
Engineering College, Thrissur, for providing all the
rock samples used in the study. We also thank
DR. P. Mohammed Rafeekh, Associate Professor,
Govt. Engineering College, Thrissur, and Mrs.
Vijayalakshmi T. S., Geologist and visiting faculty,
IES College of Engineering, Thrissur for their help
in the geological identification of rock samples.

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