Acta Geophysica

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 141–152 | Cite as

Evaluation of strength and failure of brittle rock containing initial cracks under lithospheric conditions

  • Xiaozhao Li
  • Chengzhi Qi
  • Zhushan Shao
  • Chao Ma
Research Article - Solid Earth Sciences


Natural brittle rock contains numerous randomly distributed microcracks. Crack initiation, growth, and coalescence play a predominant role in evaluation for the strength and failure of brittle rocks. A new analytical method is proposed to predict the strength and failure of brittle rocks containing initial microcracks. The formulation of this method is based on an improved wing crack model and a suggested micro–macro relation. In this improved wing crack model, the parameter of crack angle is especially introduced as a variable, and the analytical stress–crack relation considering crack angle effect is obtained. Coupling the proposed stress–crack relation and the suggested micro–macro relation describing the relation between crack growth and axial strain, the stress–strain constitutive relation is obtained to predict the rock strength and failure. Considering different initial microcrack sizes, friction coefficients and confining pressures, effects of crack angle on tensile wedge force acting on initial crack interface are studied, and effects of crack angle on stress–strain constitutive relation of rocks are also analyzed. The strength and crack initiation stress under different crack angles are discussed, and the value of most disadvantaged angle triggering crack initiation and rock failure is founded. The analytical results are similar to the published study results. Rationality of this proposed analytical method is verified.


Brittle rocks Most disadvantaged crack angle Friction Strength Failure 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 51708016 and 51774018), the Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 2017M610755), the National Basic Research Development Program (973 Program) of China (Grant no. 2015CB0578005), the scientific research fund for Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (Grant no. KYJJ2017006), and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (PCSIRT).


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Urban DesignBeijing University of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringXi’an University of Architecture and TechnologyXi’anChina

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