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REVIEW OF ROCK STRENGTH CRITERIA

A. Lakirouhani1, H. Hasanzadehshooiili2
Email: Rou001@znu.ac.ir1, Hasanzadeh.Hadi@znu.ac.ir2
1

Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Department, Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran.

Master of Science Student, Civil Engineering Department, zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran.

Abstract It is not clear exactly how a rock fails, either in terms of the precise details of each micro
crack initiation and Propagation or in terms of the total structural breakdown as many micro cracks
propagate and coalesce. In both cases, the process is extremely complex and not subject to
convenient characterization through simplified models. Nevertheless, as engineers, we should like
some measure of the failure properties and the ability to predict when failure will occur. The
strength criteria of rock materials can be divided into three major groups: theoretical failure criteria,
experimental and curve fitting based criteria. And the last set of them is composed of two
mentioned sets of failure criteria. The Mohr-Coulomb criterion expresses the relation between the
shear stress and the normal stress at failure. The plane Griffith criterion which locates in theoretical
group, express the uniaxial tensile strength in terms of the strain energy required to propagate
micro cracks. One of the most widely used empirical strength criterion for intact rock and rock
masses is Hoek-Brown Criterion. In this paper we present outlines of these criteria and focus on
the Hoek-Brown criterion. The method of research is based on books and articles published in
authoritative publications and journals. As a result, various types of rock failure criteria are
classified and some useful suggestions regarding presented criteria have been presented.
Empirical criteria, Specially Hoek and Brown Criterion, Which are in good correlations with real
conditions, can be significantly much more efficient in the rock mechanics problems.

INTRODUCTION

Truly and cost-effectively Describing and


prescribing rock failure and post failure behavior
have been two major difficulties of rock mechanics
specialists. To overcome this difficulty, a variety of
rock failure criteria and rock constitutive models
are developed based on experimental and
theoretical efforts and concepts. Like, Plane
Griffith Crack Theory (Griffith, 1921), MohrCoulomb Criterion (Coulomb, 1776) and Hoek and
Brown Failure Criterion (Hoek et al., 2002).
Because of the complexities in rock masses
behavior, which are suffering Different conditions,
such as joint effects, disturbance and anisotropic
nature of rocks, the empirical rock failure criteria
which are well-developed and comprehensively
well-prepared seem to be by far the best criteria.
Nevertheless, finding an efficient failure criterion
which can widely interpret rock failure's initiation
cannot be easily achieved. There are some
restrictions that make it difficult to opt for a useful
criterion. in order to attain a suitable criterion, It's
applicability to a wide range of rock materials,
existing a rich background for that criteria,
availability of its parameter for desired rock
materials and the criterion's possibility to be widely

used and developed in numerical analysis are


some of the main aspects that should be
considered.
2

THEORETICAL CRITERIA

2.1 Plane Griffith Crack Theory


According to the Griffith crack theory, if with an
increase in crack length there is not any increase
in the total potential energy of the material and
applied forces system, the crack will extend
(Griffith, 1921).
For constant potential energy of applied forces,
applying the mentioned theory to the extension of
an elliptical crack, Neglecting the influence of
friction on the cracks which will close under
compression, and assuming that the elliptical
crack will propagate from the points of maximum
tensile stress concentration, P, Griffith achieved
that crack extension in plane compression follows
the following criterion (Griffith, 1921):

( 1 2) 8T 0 ( 1 + 2) = 0
2+T0 = 0

If

1 + 3 2 0
If
1 + 3 2 0

(1)
(2)

Where T 0 , is the uniaxial tensile strength of the


uncracked material (a positive number) (Griffith,
1924). Also 1 and 2 , are vertical and horizontal

stresses applied to the model, respectively, which


are shown in the Figure 1.

Figure 1. ) Griffith crack model for plane compression.

According to Fairhurst and Cook (1966) and


(Brady and Brown, 2005), considering friction,
modification of Griffith' theory based on tests on
rock samples is not in a good correlation with
experimental results.
2.2 Mohr- Coulomb Strength Criterion

critical value of ,

This criterion which has been developed


theoretically and experimentally, declares that
shear strength of rock and of soil is a stress
dependent criterion and is written as the below
form (Coulomb, 1776):

f = c + n tan
(3)
Where f , c , n and , are shear stress along
shear plane, cohesion, normal stress on shear
plane and friction angle, respectively. This criterion
assumes that the shear plane, which is shown in
Figure 2, does not have dilation.

Figure 2. Shear failure on plane ab (Coulomb, 1776).


1B

And considering stress transformation, the values


for normal and shear stresses in the plane ab, are
presented in the equations 4-5 (Coulomb, 1776):
1

n = ( 1 + 3) + ( 1 3) cos 2
2
2
1

f = ( 1 3) sin 2
2
Also,

(6)
2c + 3 [sin 2 + tan (1 cos 2 )]
sin 2 tan (1 + cos 2 )
In which, the value for 1 presented in the
equation 6, presents limiting stress value on the
plane defined by (Coulomb, 1776). And for the

1=

(4)
(5)

, The value for 1 , can


4 2
be obtained by equation 7 (Coulomb, 1776).

(7)
2c cos + 3 (1 + sin )
1 sin
Also, uniaxial compressive strength and uniaxial
tensile strength regarding the Mohr-Coulomb
criterion are presented in equations 8-9,
respectively (Coulomb, 1776).

1 =

2c cos
(8)
1 sin
2c cos
(9)
T =
1 + sin
Although the Mohr-Coulomb criterion is widely
used, it is not a satisfactory peak strength criterion
for rock materials, because of three following
reasons: 1. According to Wawersik and Fairhurst
(Wawersik and Fairhurst, 1970), a major shear
fracture at peak strength does not always exist; 2.
The shear failure direction, which is predicted by
this criterion, does not always agree with
experimental observations (Brady and Brown,
2005); 3. Despite of what Mohr- Coulomb criterion
predicts, Experimental peak strength envelopes
are generally non-linear (Brady and Brown, 2005).

c=

EMPIRICAL CRITERIA

3.1 Empirical criteria For Intact Rock


3.1.1

Fairhurst criterion (1964)

This criterion is based on Brazilian test. Also, it


can be considered as a generalization to Griffith

theory. It demonstrates that, failures occur when


(Fairhurst, 1964):
If m(2m 1) 1 + 3 0
If m(2m 1) 1 + 3 0

1 = t

(10)
(11)

( 1 3)2
= 2 t (m 1)2
( 1 + 3)

In this equation, B is a dimensionless parameter


and in the interval of 0.6 B 0.9 (Franklin, 1971).
3.1.5

Bieniawski declared that triaxial peak strength of a


wide range of different rocks can be obtained by
the following equations (Bieniawski, 1974):

2 t
m 1

.1 +

1 + 3 2


1
= 1 + A 3
c
c

(12)

2
m = c +1

t
3.1.2 Hobb's criterion (1966)

This criterion is based on triaxial tests, which is


done on nine different coals (Hobbs, 1970).
f
(13)
1 = c + 3+ F 3
In which, 1 , c and 3 , present major principle
stress, uniaxial compressive stress and minor
principle stress. Also, F and f are empirical
constants.

Bodonyi criterion (1970)

This criterion is developed based on triaxial


compressive strength tests, which are carried out
on sandstone and limestone specimens. His linear
relationship between principle stresses is
presented in the following equation (Bedonyi,
1970):
(14)
1 = c + a 3
The criterion for sandstone, crystalline limestone
and loose-textured limestone specimens is
available in equations 15- 17 (Bedonyi, 1970).
1 = 1101 + 5.397 * 3

sandstone

(15)

crystalline
limestone

(16)

loosetextured
Cm 2
limestone
Franklin's criterion (1971)

(17)

1 = 1187 + 11 .78 * 3
1 = 601.4 + 2.583 * 3

3.1.4

KPa
Cm 2

KPa
Cm 2
KPa

(20)

m = 1 / 2( 1 3)
m = 1 / 2( 1 + 3)
He found that, for considered and tested
specimens, k and c constants are equal to
and 0.90, respectively (Bieniawski, 1974).

(21)
(22)
rock
0.75

Also, he proposed the following values for A and


B regarding rock type in Table 1.

Table 1. A and B values for Bieniawski's criterion


(Bieniawski, 1974).
2B

Rock type
Norite

A
5.0

B
0.8

Quartzite

4.5

0.78

Sandstone

4.0

0.75

Siltstone

3.0

0.7

Mudstone

3.0

0.7

3.1.6

Ramamurthy criterion (1985)

This criterion is developed based on uniaxial


compression and triaxial tests for more than 100
different rock types (Ramamurthy and Arora,
1993).
(23)
a
c
1 = 3 + B 3
3
B and a , are constants gained by triaxial tests
(Ramamurthy and Arora, 1993).
3.1.7

Johnston criterion (1985)

According to Johnston (Johnston, 1985),

This criterion is developed based on some


comparatives between previous linear and nonlinear criteria and is suggested as a new criterion
in the equation 18 (Franklin, 1971).

( 1 3) = 1c B ( 1+ 3)B

(19)


m
= 0.1 + B m
c
c
In which,

Where,

3.1.3

Bieniawski criterion (1974)

(18)

1' n = 3' n +1

B
Where,

(24)

'
1' n = 1'
c
3'
3' n = '
c

(25)

samples, uniaxial tests, direct shear tests and


Brazilian tests (Yudhbir and Prizl, 1983).

(26)

M
c
=
B
t

(27)

(33)

3'
1'

= A + B
c
c

In this criterion, is a constant parameter and is


independent of rock type. And, its suggested value
is 0.65 (Yudhbir and Prizl, 1983). The suggested
values for B , which depends on rock type and is a
rock material constant is presented in Table 2
(Yudhbir and Prizl, 1983).

B = 1 0.0172 log c'

)2

(28)

2
(29)
M = 2.065 + 0.276 log 'c
'
'
In which, 1n
and 3n
are normalized effective

principle maximum and minimum stresses, 1' and


3' are effective principle maximum and minimum
stresses, 'c is effective uniaxial compressive
strength, M and B are two intact material
constants. Also, c and t are uniaxial
compressive and tensile strengths, which
equations 28- 29, are obtained by curve fitting
analysis (Johnston, 1985).
3.1.8

Sheorey criterion (1989)

This criterion is developed based on 23 data sets


for coal and is only related to brittle failure
(Sheorey et al., 1989).
(30)
1
32
1 = 3 1+
t
Where c and t , are determined from triaxial
tests.
3.1.9

Yoshida criterion (1990)

This criterion is based on 18 triaxial compression


tests (Yoshida et al., 1990).
1

3 B
1 = 3 + A c S
c

Rock type
Tuff, Shale Limestone
Siltstone, Mudstone
Quartzite, Sandstone Dolerite
Norite, Granite, Quartzdiorite,
Chert

3.2.2

B
2
3
4
5

Sheorey et al., criterion (1989)

This criterion is developed based on triaxial tests


carried out on coals, considering Q classification
system (Barton et al., 1974) (Sheorey et al., 1989).
(34)
3 b m

1 = cm 1+

tm
Where, cm , tm , b m are compressive and
Tensile strength of rock mass and constant of rock
mass (in the case of coals, its value was
calculated 0.605), respectively (Sheorey et al.,
1989).

Table 3. parameter A and B (Yudhbir and Prizl,


1983).

Where, 1 , 3 and c , are principle maximum


and minimum stresses and uniaxial compressive
strength. Also, A , B and S , are three strength
parameters (Yoshida et al., 1990).
It can be considered that if the parameter B is
equal to one, the criterion becomes equal to the
Mohr- Coulomb criterion.
3.2 Empirical Criteria For Rock Masses
3.2.1

Table 2. values of B (Yudhbir and Prizl, 1983).

(31)

(32)

A=SB

Also, A is a dimensionless parameter whose


values depend on rock type and are available in
Table 3 (Yudhbir and Prizl, 1983).

Yudhbir criterion (1983)

This criterion is based on triaxial tests carried out


on 20 trial crushed and intact model material

Description
Intact specimen
Crushed specimen ( = 1.65
Crushed specimen ( = 1.25
Indiana Limestone
Westerly Granite
Intact
Brocken
State
State
State
Phra Wihan Sandstone
Lopburi
Buriram

Ton
m3
Ton

m3

)
)

A
1.0
0.3

B
1.9
1.9

0.1

1.9

1.0

1.93

1.0

4.9

0.25
0.075
0.0

4.9
4.9
4.9

1.0
1.0

6.0
4.0

3.2.3

Mogi criterion

This criterion which is generally used as MogiCoulomb criterion is developed based in triaxial
tests (Mogi, 2007).

+3
)
oct = a + b( 1

(35)

(36)
2 2
a=
c cos
3
(37)
2 2
b=
sin
3
Where, oct represents octahedral shear stress in
failure, 1 and 3 are principle stresses. a and b
are Mogi constants. Also, c and are MohrCoulomb constants.
3.2.4

Hoek and brown criterion (2002)

This criterion which is one of the most important


rock failure criteria widely applied by rock
mechanics specialists can be used for both intact
rocks and rock masses.
The last version of this criterion is presented in
the equation 38 (Hoek et al., 2002).

3'
+ s)
ci
GSI 100
)
mb = mi exp(
28 14 D
GSI 100
s = exp(
)
9 3D

1' = 3' + ci (mb

(38)
(39)
(40)

(41)
a = 1 / 2 + 1 / 6(e GSI 15 e 20 3)
In which, ci and D are uniaxial compressive
strength of intact rock and disturbance factor,
respectively. Also, m i , s and a are material
constants which depend on material quality. And,
GSI is Geological Strength Index (Hoek et al.,
2002). The values for mentioned parameters are
listed in the Appendixes 1, 2 and 3.
According to the majority of rock mechanics
specialists, this rugged mentioned criterion is one
of the most important and applied rock failure
criteria, which can efficiently describe rock
behavior. Also, this criterion includes a wide range
of materials from intact rock to rock masses. From
a pristine looking view, due to various works which
is done on this criterion, this criterion is one of a
few available criteria that are presented for various
rock types. Also, this criterion uses GSI , which is
one of the best applied rock classification systems
that can be used to interpret tunnels behavior for
tunnel's support design.
4

CONCLUSION

In order to assess rock strength, different


approaches can be considered. Like: theoretical
approaches
and
empirical
approaches.
Nevertheless, because of complexities in rock
conditions and discontinuities available in the
design problems, applying a theoretical criterion
will result in unsafe or non-economical design.
Thus, the empirical criteria which are in good
correlations with real conditions can be
significantly efficient and useful in the rock
mechanics problems. Also, one of the most
appealing and useful criteria which is suggested
by a variety of rock mechanics specialists is Hoek
and brown failure criterion which includes a large
range of rock types and a wide range of rock
conditions from intact rock to rock masses.
REFRENCES
Barton, N. R., Lien, R. and Lunde, J. (1974).
Engineering classification of rock masses for
the design of tunnel supports. Rock Mech., 6,
pp. 189-239.
Bedonyi, J. (1970). Laboratory tests of certain
rocks
under
axially-symmetrical
loading
conditions. In: Proceedings of the 2nd
international congress on rock mechanics,
Belgrade, 1, pp. 389-397.
Bieniawski, Z. T. (1974). Geomechanics
classification of rock masses and its application
in tunneling. In: Proceedings of the 3rd
International Congress on Rock Mechanics,
Denver, pp. 27-32.
Brady, B. H. G., and Brown, E. T. (2005). Rock
Mechanics for Underground Mining. Kluwer
Academic Publishers, New York, 645 p.
Coulomb, C. A. (1776). Essai sur une application
des r`egles de maximis et minimis a quelque
problems de statique, relatifs `a larchitecture.
Memoires de Mathematique et de Physique,
L Academie Royale des Sciences, 7, pp. 343
82.
Fairhurst, C. (1964). On the validity of the
"Brazilian" test for brittle materials. Int. J. Rock
Mech. Min., 1, pp. 515-546.
Fairhurst, C., and Cook, N. G. W. (1966). The
phenomenon of rock splitting parallel to the
direction of maximum compression in the
neighborhood of a surface. In: Proceedings of
the 1st congress of the International Society for
Rock Mechanics, Lisbon, pp. 687-692.
Franklin, J.A. (1971). Triaxial strength of rock
material. Rock Mech. 3, pp. 86-98.

Griffith, A. A. (1921). The phenomena of rupture


and flow in solids. Phil. Trans Roy. Soc., A221,
pp. 16397.
Griffith, A. A. (1924) Theory of rupture. Proc. 1st
Congr. Appl. Mech., Delft, pp. 5563.
Hobbs, D. W. (1970). the strength and stressstrain characteristics of coal in triaxial
compression. J. Geol. 72 (2), pp. 214-231.
Hoek, E., Carranza-Torres, C. and Corkum, B.
(2002). Hoek-Brown Failure Criterion-2002
Edition. In: Proceedings of the 5th North
American Rock Mechanics Symposium and
17th Tunneling Association of Canada
Conference: NARMS-TAC 2002, July 7-10,
University of Toronto, pp. 267-271.
Johnston, I. W. (1985). Strength of intact
geomechanical materials. J. Geotech. Eng
ASCE, 111, pp. 730-749.
Mogi, K. (2007). Experimental Rock Mechanics,
Taylor & Francis/Balkama, London, Uk, 380.
Ramamurthy, T., and Arora, V. K. (1993). A
classification for intact and jointed rocks, In:
Geotechnical engineering of hard soils- Soft
Rocks, Anagnostopoulos et al., (Eds.),
Balkema, Rotterdam. ISBN 90 5410 344 2.
Sheorey, P. R., Biswas, A. K. and Choubey, V. D.
(1989). An empirical failure criterion for rocks
and jointed rock masses. Eng. Geol. 26, pp.
141-159.
Wawersik, W. R. and Fairhurst, C. (1970). A study
of brittle rock fracture in laboratory compression
experiments. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci., 7(5),
pp. 56175.
Yoshida, N., Morgenstern, N. R. and Chan, D. H.
(1990). Failure criterion for stiff soils and rocks
exhibiting softening Author Affilation: Univ of
Alberta Source: can. Geotech. J., 27 (2), 195202. ISSN: 0008-3674 CODEN: CGJOAH.
Yudhbir, Lemanza, W. and Prinzl, F. (1983). An
empirical failure criterion for rock masses. In:
Proceedings of the 5th International Congress
on Rock Mechanics, Melbourne, Balkema,
Rotterdam, 1, B1- B8.

Appendix 1. Values of m i (Hoek et al., 2002).

Appendix 2. Values of GSI (Hoek et al., 2002).

Appendix 3. Guidelines for estimating disturbance factor, D (Hoek et al., 2002).


Appearance of rock mass

Description of rock mass

Excellent quality controlled blasting or


excavation by Tunnel Boring Machine
results in minimal disturbance to the
confined rock mass surrounding a
tunnel.

Mechanical or hand excavation in poor


quality rock masses (no blasting)
results in minimal disturbance to the
surrounding rock mass.
Where squeezing problems result in
significant floor have, disturbance can
be severe unless a temporary invert,
as shown in thephotograph, is placed.

Very poor quality blasting in a hard


rock tunnel results in severe local
damage, extending 2 or 3 m, in the
surrounding rock mass.

Small
scale
blasting
in
civil
Engineering slopes results in modest
rock mass damage, particularly if
controlled blasting is used as shown
on the left hand side of the
photograph. However, stress relief
results in some disturbance.

Suggested
value of D

D=0

D=0

D=0.5
No invert

D=0.8

D=0.7
Good blasting
D=1.0
Poor blasting

Very large open pit mine slopes suffer


significant disturbance due to heavy
production blasting and also due to
stress relief from overburden removal.

D = 1.0
Production
blasting

In some softer rocks excavation can


be carried out by ripping and dozing
and the degree of damage to the
slopes is less.

D = 0.7
Mechanical
excavation