Effect of Rapid Thermal Cooling on Mechanical Rock Properties

Kwangmin Kim, John Kemeny, Mark Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Laboratory tests have been conducted to investigate the effects of rapid thermal cooling on various rock specimens including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. At first, various types of thermal loading were conducted: heating up to 100, 200, and 300 °C, followed by rapid cooling with a fan. In addition, multiple cyclic thermal cooling (10, 15 and 20 cycles) with a maximum temperature of only 100 °C was conducted. Experiments included edge notched disc (END) tests to determine the Mode I fracture toughness, Brazilian disc tests to determine tensile strength, seismic tests to determine P-wave velocity, and porosity tests leading to meaningful results. Even though only small changes of temperature (rapid cooling from 100 °C to room temperature) were applied, the results showed that crack growth occurred in some rock types (granite, diabase with ore veins, and KVS) while crack healing occurred in other rock types (diabase without ore veins, quartzite, and skarn). To better understand the results, 3D transient thermo-mechanical analysis was conducted using the ANSYS program. The results indicated that there was a thin region near the outside of the specimen where large tensile stresses occur and microcracking would be expected, and that there was a large area in the middle of the specimen where lower magnitude compressive stresses occur and crack closure would be expected. It was found that the more heterogeneous and more coarse-grained rock types are more likely to exhibit crack growth, while less heterogeneous and more fine-grained rocks are more likely to exhibit crack healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2005-2019
Number of pages15
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Crack healing
  • Cyclic thermal loading
  • Mechanical rock properties
  • Rapid thermal cooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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