Fracture coalescence, which plays an important role in the behavior of brittle materials, is investigated by loading rock-like specimens with two and three pre-existing flaws made by pulling out the embedded metal inserts in the pre-cured period. Different geometries are obtained by changing the angle of the flaws with respect to the direction of loading and the spacing. With reference to the experimental observation of crack initiation and propagation from pre-existing flaws, the influences of the third pre-existing flaw on the cracking processes was analyzed. It was found during the test that: with the increase of the angle of the rock bridge, the rock specimen takes a turn from wing crack propagation failure to crack coalescence failure, and it will be more obvious with the increase of the prefabricated crack angle. According to the different geometries of pre-existing cracks, seven types of coalescence have been identified based on the nature of the cracks for the specimen with two pre-existing flaws. The multi-crack interaction results in the continuous degradation of the macroscopic mechanical properties of the rock mass. On one hand, it weakens the trend of relative sliding of the coplanar cracks, and on the other hand, it changed the coalescence patterns of the fractured specimen. The research reported here provides increased understanding of the fundamental nature of rock mass failure in compression.
Cao, P., Liu, T., Pu, C., & Lin, H. (2015). Crack propagation and coalescence of brittle rock-like specimens with pre-existing cracks in compression. Engineering Geology, 187, 113–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2014.12.010