Validation of a new elastoplastic constitutive model dedicated to the cyclic behaviour of brittle rock materials

Benjamin Cerfontaine, Robert Charlier, Frédéric Collin, Mahdi Taiebat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Old mines or caverns may be used as reservoirs for fuel/gas storage or in the context of large-scale energy storage. In the first case, oil or gas is stored on annual basis. In the second case pressure due to water or compressed air varies on a daily basis or even faster. In both cases a cyclic loading on the cavern’s/mine’s walls must be considered for the design. The complexity of rockwork geometries or coupling with water flow requires finite element modelling and then a suitable constitutive law for the rock behaviour modelling. This paper presents and validates the formulation of a new constitutive law able to represent the inherently cyclic behaviour of rocks at low confinement. The main features of the behaviour evidenced by experiments in the literature depict a progressive degradation and strain of the material with the number of cycles. A constitutive law based on a boundary surface concept is developed. It represents the brittle failure of the material as well as its progressive degradation. Kinematic hardening of the yield surface allows the modelling of cycles. Isotropic softening on the cohesion variable leads to the progressive degradation of the rock strength. A limit surface is introduced and has a lower opening than the bounding surface. This surface describes the peak strength of the material andallows the modelling of a brittle behaviour. In addition a fatigue limit is introduced such that no cohesion degradation occurs if the stress state lies inside this surface. The model is validated against three different rock materials and types of experiments. Parameters of the constitutive laws are calibrated against uniaxial tests on Lorano marble, triaxial test on a sandstone and damage-controlled test on Lac du Bonnet granite. The model is shown to reproduce correctly experimental results, especially the evolution of strain with number of cycles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2677-2694
Number of pages14
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number10
Early online date28 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Fatigue
  • Constitutive modelling
  • Bounding surface model
  • Cyclic loading
  • Rock Mechanics


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