Combined microscopic-macroscopic modeling of rock damage and failure

Y. L. Lu, D. Elsworth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Composed of heterogeneous mineral grains and microdefects at the microscopic scale, natural rocks are strongly heterogeneous. This typically results in macroscopically non-linear mechanical response under the action of external forces including thermomechanical and thermochemical effects. Classical macroscopic constitutive equations fail to describe the complex evolution of damage and its progress to failure. Recently, micromechanical damage models have been developed to address the complex macroscopic behavior of rock material. These models allow the evolution of real damage microstructures, including the initiation, growth and coalescence of defects with the result that this method links microscopic damage evolution to macroscopic mechanical response. We present a combined microscopic-macroscopic model that embeds the micromechanical model into a macroscale finite element model (FEM). The method is implemented in FEM with each grid block treated as a microscopic element (i.e. REV) of rock material. The evolution of both microcrack damage and of the macroscopic effective constitutive equation is then evaluated for each grid block. On this basis, the global stiffness matrix of the entire object is established and FEM used to solve practical rock engineering problems. A uniaxial tension experiment is simulated to validate the method. The stress-strain relations recovered for this numerical experiment replicate the experimental results including the evolution of damage and failure of the rock sample. This method provides an effective approach to study problems of rock damage and failure in engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Event46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2012Jun 27 2012

Publication series

Name46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012


Other46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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