Experiments with rock: Remarks on strength and stability issues

J. F. Labuz, L. Biolzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


In the classical work of Fairhurst and co-workers on machine stiffness, it was shown that the failure response of a rock specimen can be a mixture of material and structural behavior. This is due to the development, around peak stress, of a localized region of microcracking called the intrinsic zone, which may be a property of the rock. The inhomogeneity formed by the intrinsic zone has a fundamental importance for defining the system behavior in terms of material strength and post-peak instability such that size effects appear. In addition, the testing environment, that is, the load frame, with its finite stiffness and load arrangement, has an impact on the overall response. Observations of the intrinsic zone are presented, and the topics of strength and stability are discussed in relation to tensile and compressive testing of rock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-537
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The results contained in this article are a direct consequence of the pioneering contributions from Charles Fairhurst and his co-workers. We are grateful to Charles for his encouragement and interest. Partial support was provided by NSF Grant number CMS-0070062. S. Cattaneo, J.J. Riedel and C-S. Kao assisted with some of the experiments.


  • Acoustic emission
  • Flexural testing
  • Intrinsic zone
  • Localization
  • Plane-strain testing
  • Size effects
  • Speckle interferometry
  • Uniaxial tensile testing


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