Experimental investigation on the physical and mechanical properties deterioration of oil shale subjected to freeze-thaw cycles

  • Hong-chao ZhaoEmail author
  • Xiao-lei Zhang
  • Gang Han
  • Hui Chen
Original Paper


The exploration and utilization of oil shale have drawn much attention during the past decades around the world. To better understand the mechanical behavior of oil shale in the Junggar Basin, northwestern China, laboratory tests were conducted on five series of oil shale samples collected from different sites to investigate the effect of water on deteriorated rocks due to freeze-thaw weathering. The petrographic analysis and geochemical analysis were carried out, followed by the freezing-thaw (F-T) cycle test ranged from 10 times to 40 times with the increase of 15 times. All samples were frozen in a temperature-controlled freeze cabinet at − 20 °C and then thawed in distilled water at 20 °C. The deterioration of the samples was explored by the observation of the loss of weight and decrease of uniaxial compressive strength through some typical technical methods including scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis on the selected samples. Experimental results show that the uniaxial compressive strength is significantly affected by the increase of F-T cycles. The test results also indicate that the microstructure, in particular the minor cracks, is one of the main factors controlling the deterioration procedure of oil shale subjected to F-T cycles.


Oil shale Freeze-thaw cycles Microstructure Junggar Basin 



The first author would like to thank Zhang Shian and Li Taotao for their contributions in laboratory experiments.

Funding information

The authors would like to thank the Natural Science Foundation Project of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Education Department (XJEDU2016S037) for their financial supports.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong-chao Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiao-lei Zhang
    • 1
  • Gang Han
    • 2
  • Hui Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geological and Mining EngineeringXinjiang UniversityXinjiangChina
  2. 2.Xinjiang Baoming Mining Co., Ltd.XinjiangChina

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