Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 52, Issue 11, pp 4319–4338 | Cite as

Numerical and Experimental Study on the Cracking Behavior of Marble with En-Echelon Flaws

  • Yi Cheng
  • Yu-Yong JiaoEmail author
  • Fei Tan
Original Paper


En-echelon fractures have been commonly observed in nature. To understand the interaction of en-echelon flaws, numerical simulation with flat-jointed model and laboratory experiment has been conducted on specimens containing en-echelon flaws of various configurations. With reliable micro-parameters of the flat-joint contact through a comprehensive calibration, numerical results reveal a strong interaction in flaw configurations of extensional bridges but a mild interaction in flaw configurations of contractional bridges. The patterns of linking cracks are found to be dependent on the flaw configurations. Furthermore, two typical linking cracks, tensile and shear cracks, are identified in terms of contact force evolution, crack development, micro-components and damage zone width. Experimental results not only verify the above conclusions given by simulation, but also provide more distinctions between tensile and shear cracks in grain scale. Based on these findings, an empirical correlation is suggested between debonding behavior in PFC models and microcracking behavior in laboratory experiments. Finally, the tendency of crack initiation stress and peak stress in simulation and experiment is compared and explained with respect to the flaw-array angle. A good agreement between simulation and experiment indicates the capability of the flat-jointed model of PFC2D in handling complex crack coalescence problems in rocks.


En-echelon flaws Flat-jointed model Tensile crack Shear crack Microcrack Carrara marble 



The authors appreciate suggestions from anonymous reviewers very much to improve the quality of this paper. This study was supported by the China National Natural Science Foundation (No.: 41702314, No.: 11672360, No.: 51479191 and No.: 11402280) and Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No.: 2016CFA023).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina

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