Simulation of failure around a circular opening in rock

A. Fakhimi, F. Carvalho, T. Ishida, J. F. Labuz

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239 Scopus citations


A biaxial compression test was performed on a sandstone specimen with a circular opening to simulate a loading-type failure around an underground excavation in brittle rock. The axial force and displacements were monitored throughout the failure process, and microcracking was detected by the acoustic emission technique. To model the observed damage zone around the opening, the distinct element computer program, particle flow code (PFC2D), was used. The numerical model consisted of several circular elements that can interact through contact stiffness, exhibit strength through contact bonds and particle friction, and develop damage through fracture of bonds. For the determination of micro-mechanical parameters needed in the calibration process of the computer program, only the macroscopic parameters of Young's modulus. Poisson's ratio and uniaxial compressive strength were used. It is shown that PFC2D was capable of simulating the localization behavior of the rock and the numerical model was able to reproduce the damage zone observed in the laboratory test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-515
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial support was provided by the National Science Foundation (CMS-0070062) and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. Dr. David Potyondy of Itasca Consulting Group helped with the implementation of PFC 2D and Dr. Haiying Huang provided her Ph.D. dissertation containing the important calibration results.


  • Acoustic emission
  • Biaxial test
  • Distinct element method
  • Underground opening


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