Microcracking and grain size effect in Yuen Long marbles

Robina H.C. Wong, Kam Tim Chau, P. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the effect of the initial crack density and grain size on the uniaxial compressive strength of fine- and coarse-grain Yuen Long marbles. We found experimentally that the peak strength decreases with the inverse square root of the mean grain size, and this agrees with the previous experimental observations by Olsson (1974), Brace (1961, 1964) and Fredrich et al. (1990). However, two different regimes of microcracking dependence on the peak strength are observed: (1) in fine-grain marbles the uniaxial strength drops rapidly with the initial crack density ∈0; (2) in coarse-grain marbles the strength is roughly constant with the crack density if ∈0 > 0.025. This observation contradicts the common belief that peak strength decreases monotonically with ∈0. In an attempt to study the underlying reason for this nonlinear dependence of the crack density, the Ashby-Hallam (1986) model is employed and it predicts that for small ∈0, the peak strength decreases rapidly with the initial crack density, but when ∈0 increases beyond a critical value, peak strength becomes relatively insensitive to the crack density. For Yuen Long marbles, the model predicts that the critical ∈0, which separates the rapidly-decreasing and the roughly-constant regimes, is approximately 0.025, which agrees well with our observed value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences and Geomechanics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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