Water-induced variations in mechanical properties of clay-bearing rocks

Erguler Z. A., Ulusay R.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ROCK MECHANICS AND MINING SCIENCES, vol.46, no.2, pp.355-370, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


This study presents the results obtained from laboratory tests carried out on different types of clay-bearing rock collected from various parts of Turkey, to quantify the effects of water content on mechanical properties of the rocks, and to develop a method for estimating the rock strength and deformability at any water content based on physical properties. For this purpose, in addition to physical properties of the rock types collected, needle penetration resistance, uniaxial compressive strength, tensile strength and modulus of elasticity were determined on a number of specimens with different water contents. The results suggest that with increasing the water content the reductions in the uniaxial compressive strength, modulus of elasticity and tensile strength are up to 90%, 93% and 90%, respectively, from oven-dried to saturated conditions. Based on a series of empirical models developed and the comparisons between the experimentally determined mechanical properties and those predicted from the models, it is concluded that the suggested models seem to be very practical tools to estimate the mechanical properties of the clay-bearing rocks at any water content using the coefficients related to some physical properties of the rock material such as dry unit weight, water absorption by weight and porosity. In addition, needle penetration test is particularly suitable for such rocks to indirectly estimate their uniaxial compressive strength. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.