Shear stress triggering brittle shear fracturing of rock-like materials

Lifeng Ma, Nina Yari, Marian Wiercigroch* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Contact fracturing of rock-like brittle materials indented by rigid cylindrical punches with flat ends is studied. Contrary to the classical shear fracturing mechanism of brittle materials explained in terms of multi-tensile-stressed micro-cracks in materials [1], a new mechanism dominant in brittle shear fracturing is found, namely, shear stress triggered fracturing orientation existing in nature, and the contact crack initiation angle for such kind rock-like materials is also revealed. This phenomenon is very different from such as Hertzian or Roesler’s [2] crack generation mechanism, as cracks are directed inwards rather than outwards. The theoretical predictions are validated by our experimental results. This finding testifies that for a rock-like brittle material shear fracturing along its maximum shear stress plane is possible under some special confinement, which has important implications for seismology and rock-mass stability, as well as rock engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Early online date27 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

L. Ma would like to thank the partial support by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 41630634).


  • brittle shear fracturing
  • rock-like materials
  • contact mechanics
  • conical crack
  • J-integral


Dive into the research topics of 'Shear stress triggering brittle shear fracturing of rock-like materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this