Experimental Study on the Water-Induced Weakening of Calcarenites

Matteo Oryem Ciantia, Riccardo Castellanza, Claudio Di Prisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonatic rocks, such as calcarenites, are very often subject to damage processes, causing a progressive degradation of their mechanical properties. In nature, in some cases, this phenomenon can cause the collapse of cliffs and underground cavities, with dangerous consequences for the anthropic environment. In this paper, the results of an experimental campaign, intended to both clarify and quantify the mechanical consequences of this process, are illustrated. To achieve such a goal, suitable physical and geotechnical indices are introduced and different time scales to describe the physical/chemical reactions induced by the water saturation of the material are taken into consideration. In particular, the authors have observed: (1) a short-term marked and instantaneous reduction in strength when water fills the pores of the rock; (2) a long-term dissolution; and (3) a progressive chemically induced reduction in the grain size. To describe the degradation processes induced by the material water saturation, owing to the complexity of the hydro-chemo-mechanical phenomena taking place within the material, suitably designed tests under controlled “weathering” conditions were also performed and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-461
Number of pages21
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Calcarenite
  • Hydro-chemo-mechanical coupling
  • Hydro-chemo-mechanical experimental tests
  • Rocks
  • Weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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