Inherent microcrack populations have a significant effect on the fracture behaviour of natural rocks. The present study addresses this topic in numerical simulations of uniaxial tension and three-point bending tests. For this end, a rock fracture model based on multiple intersecting embedded discontinuity finite elements is developed. The inherent (pre-existing) microcrack populations are represented by pre-embedded randomly oriented discontinuity populations. Crack shielding (through spurious locking) is prevented by allowing a new crack to be introduced, upon violation of the Rankine criterion, in an element with an initial crack unfavourably oriented to the loading direction. Rock heterogeneity is accounted for by random clusters of triangular finite elements representing different minerals of granitic numerical rock. Numerical simulations demonstrate the strength lowering effect of initial microcrack populations. This effect is substantially stronger under uniaxial tension, due to the uniform stress state, than in semicircular three-point bending having a non-uniform stress state with a clear local maximum of tensile stress.
- Jufo-taso 1