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Fracture Toughness Determination of Cracked Chevron Notched Brazilian Disc Rock Specimen via Griffith Energy Criterion Incorporating Realistic Fracture Profiles


The cracked chevron notched Brazilian disc (CCNBD) specimen has been suggested by the International Society for Rock Mechanics to measure the mode I fracture toughness of rocks, and has been widely adopted in laboratory tests. Nevertheless, a certain discrepancy has been observed in results when compared with those derived from methods using straight through cracked specimens, which might be due to the fact that the fracture profiles of rock specimens cannot match the straight through crack front as assumed in the measuring principle. In this study, the progressive fracturing of the CCNBD specimen is numerically investigated using the discrete element method (DEM), aiming to evaluate the impact of the realistic cracking profiles on the mode I fracture toughness measurements. The obtained results validate the curved fracture fronts throughout the fracture process, as reported in the literature. The fracture toughness is subsequently determined via the proposed G-method originated from Griffith’s energy theory, in which the evolution of the realistic fracture profile as well as the accumulated fracture energy is quantified by DEM simulation. A comparison between the numerical tests and the experimental results derived from both the CCNBD and the semi-circular bend (SCB) specimens verifies that the G-method incorporating realistic fracture profiles can contribute to narrowing down the gap between the fracture toughness values measured via the CCNBD and the SCB method.