Theoretical considerations on mechanical parameters of joint surfaces based on studies on ceramics

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Morphological features of brittle fracture in glass, ceramics and rocks include fracture origin, mirror plane, mist, hackle, radial striations and concentric undulations. The plume structure which characterizes many joint surfaces is analogous to striations or ‘grainy steps’ developed on fracture surfaces of ceramics. Joint surfaces with plumose structures result essentially from tensile failure, but may also be affected by shear stresses. The ellipticity of the plumose structure commonly observed reflects a region of secondary tensional strain parallel to bedding developed due to anisotropic elastic properties of the rock as a result of formational loading. Striations and hackles may have similar orientations. A distinction between them is important since hackles on a joint surface indicate a rapid fracture whereas striations can result from a slow fracture. Intense undulations without hackling may indicate a slow fracture. A smooth mirror plane on a joint surface indicates that while the fracture had been formed, stresses had reached a certain maximum and then subsided. On the other hand, a joint surface that shows a mirror plane with hackle around its boundaries indicates that no decrease of stresses occurred during fracture, and fracture was possibly produced under a constant stress. Since AH is a material property, the fracture stress σfresponsible for a rapid fracture may be calculated following a determination of the mirror constant AH of the rock by σfrH½=AH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalGeological Magazine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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