Experimental Study of the Brittle Behavior of Clay shale in Rapid Unconfined Compression

Florian Amann, Edward Alan Button, Keith Frederick Evans, Valentin Gischig, Manfred Bluemel
The mechanical behavior of clay shales is of great interest in many branches of geo-engineering, including nuclear waste disposal, underground excavations, and deep well drilling. Observations from test galleries (Mont Terri, Switzerland and Bure, France) in these materials have shown that the rock mass response near the excavation is associated with brittle failure processes combined with bedding parallel shearing. To investigate the brittle failure characteristics of the Opalinus Clay
more » ... d from the Mont Terri Underground Research Laboratory, a series of 19 unconfined uniaxial compression tests were performed utilizing servocontrolled testing procedures. All specimens were tested at their natural water content with loading approximately normal to the bedding. Acoustic emission (AE) measurements were utilized to help quantify stress levels associated with crack initiation and propagation. The unconfined compression strength of the tested specimens averaged 6.9 MPa. The crack initiation threshold occurred at approximately 30% of the rupture stress based on analyzing both the acoustic emission measurements and the stress-strain behavior. The crack damage threshold showed large variability and occurred at approximately 70% of the rupture stress.
doi:10.3929/ethz-b-000037493 fatcat:4cwie2kdo5ebtggsjk5h6ug4ay