Experimental Study on Water Absorption and Weakening of Silurian Argillite

  • Zhigang LiEmail author
  • Guangli XuEmail author
  • Xin Zhao
  • Yongpeng Fu
  • Chang Su
Original Paper


The objective was to analyse the water absorption and weakening of a Silurian argillite taken from the northwest of Hubei Province, China. Some experiments were conducted including measurement of the change in water absorption, the microstructure of the minerals, the porosity, and the strength of argillite samples, at different water absorptions, by scanning electron microscope, powder X-ray diffraction analysis, and needle penetration test. The results indicate that argillite was soaked in water for up to 0.5 days, water absorption rates were fast and the amount absorbed was large. At the same time, the rate of strength decrease was high and significant loss of strength was observed. Argillite soaked in water for 0.5 to 180 days had an increased water absorption at a slower rate, and the strength tended to be stable over time. The relationship between strength and water absorption was established: the strength decreases in the form of negative exponential function with increasing water absorption. Finally, the micro-mechanical model shows that, the decrease of attractive force of mineral grains and the increase in the force acting between mineral grains and the pore water are the main reason why this degree of water-weakening appeared in the argillite.


Silurian argillite Needle penetration test Water absorption Water-weakening 



The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41472263 and 41772314) and China Geological Survey Project (No. 12120114038701).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Civil Science and EngineeringYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  2. 2.Faculty of EngineeringChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  3. 3.Geological Survey Center in Wuhan, China Geological SurveyWuhanChina
  4. 4.Hubei Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering GeologyJingzhouChina

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