Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 3School of Material and Mineral Resources Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Pulau, Malaysia

2 Lecturer, school of material and mineral resources engineering, USM, Malaysia

3 Department of Mining Engineering, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta, Pakistan.

4 School of Material and Mineral Resources Engineering, USM



The significance of rock failure can be found from the fact that microfracture genesis and coalescence in the rock mass results in macroscale fractures. Rock may fail due to an increase in the local stress, natural fractures, weathering inducing micro-crack genesis, coalescence, and propagation. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the micro-scale failure mechanism of various weathering grade sandstones based on micro-level observation and microstructure-based simulation is essential. The microscale failure response of various weathering grade sandstones is studied under the wet and dry cycles. Each sample is tested for the micro-structure and micro-fracture characteristics using the image analysis. Furthermore, the micrographs obtained are also used to create the microstructure-based models, which are then simulated in the ANSYS software. The findings indicate that the moderately weathered sandstones indicate less weight reduction than the slightly weathered sandstone. The results obtained also demonstrate that the wet and dry cycles have little effect on the particle shape and size. However, variation in the particle shape and size implies that this is a result of the prevailing interaction of rock and water particle. The microscale simulation reveal that both UCS and BTS decrease from 37 MPa to 19 MPa and 9 MPa to 4 MPa as the density of the micro-structure increases. The results reveal that the primary fracture deviation from the loading axis increases with increasing density in the micro-structural micro-structures, although this effect reduces with further increasing density in the micro-structures.