Fractures in non-homogeneous rockfill materials from a micromechanics perspective

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Geotechnical Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Civil Engineering Department, Engineering Faculty, Shahre kord University

3 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran


This study investigates particle breakage and cracks propagation of non-homogeneous rockfill materials, particularly conglomerates, from a microscale perspective. The conglomerate's materials were gathered from Masjed-E-Soleyman, MES, rockfill dam, Iran. The study of particle breakage in rockfill material has been investigated by several researchers worldwide, both in the laboratory and through numerical simulations. However, the previous research focused on homogeneous rockfill materials, not non-homogeneous ones. The first part of this research investigates crack propagation in conglomerates due to high-stress conditions in a rockfill dam. The second part of the paper evaluates the effects of crack propagation on the MES dam crest settlement. In this paper, the microstructure of conglomerates rockfill was determined by performing a set of XRD analyses. The results revealed that calcite constitutes the majority of the rockfill structure. In accordance with geology science, the calcite has a high potential for breaking, and a numerical simulation was developed to illustrate the fractures and crack propagation in a rockfill dam of 177m in height. The results of this research are useful for understanding the concept of large deformations that occurred in the MES dam and needed rehabilitation measures for preventing dam breakage.


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