Strength properties of fresh and weathered rocks subjected to wetting–drying cycles

  • Ivan GratchevEmail author
  • Savani Vidana Pathiranagei
  • Dong Hyun Kim
Original Article


Unlike previous research on soft and clay-bearing rocks, this study seeks to investigate the effect of wetting and drying (W–D) cycles on the engineering properties of two hard rocks. A series of W–D cycles were applied to fresh specimens of greywacke and basalt, and their strength, slake durability and density were progressively assessed as the number of cycles increased. It was found that unlike the basalt, the strength of greywacke rapidly decreased with increasing W–D cycles while the rock density and slake durability index remained almost the same. Analysis of the crack propagation in both rocks revealed that, compared to soft and clay-bearing material, the process of strength degradation in hard rocks was rather different, with a more pronounced effect of crack development. In addition, comparisons with the data obtained for the same type of rocks yet naturally weathered was performed to establish similarities between the properties of laboratory-deteriorated and naturally weathered rocks. The obtained results are expected to provide more practical values for such laboratory studies where the rate of rock deterioration is relatively high (several weeks) in comparison to what is commonly observed in the field (several years).


Wetting and drying cycles Weathering Point load test Slake durability index 



The authors would like to acknowledge Mrs Yun Zou and Rory Goodwin for their help with laboratory testing. This research was performed with the financial support of the Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (GUPRS) program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith School of EngineeringGriffith UniversitySouthportAustralia

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