Quantitative assessment of rock texture and correlation with drillability and strength properties

Howarth D.F. and Rowlands J.C. (1987) Quantitative assessment of rock texture and correlation with drillability and strength properties. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 20 1: 57-85. doi:10.1007/BF01019511

Author Howarth D.F.
Rowlands J.C.
Title Quantitative assessment of rock texture and correlation with drillability and strength properties
Journal name Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0723-2632
Publication date 1987-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/BF01019511
Volume 20
Issue 1
Start page 57
End page 85
Total pages 29
Publisher Springer-Verlag
Subject 1909 Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
1901 Art Theory and Criticism
Abstract A dimensionless quantitative measure of rock texture, describing grain: -shape, orientation, degree of grain interlocking and relative proportions of grains and matrix (packing density) has been developed. Data required for the model are obtained by image analysis of thin sections and concerns percentage areas of grains and matrix, length, breadth, perimeter, orientation and area of each grain in the viewing window. The results of rock strength, diamond and percussion drillability tests in eleven sandstones, marbles and igneous rocks are reported, and correlated with the developed texture coefficient. The texture coefficient returns highly statistically significant correlations with rock strength and drillability data. Sandstones have low texture coefficients and high drillability whereas igneous rocks have high texture coefficients and low drillability. With particular reference to percussive drillability it is suggested that extensional crack propagation in the sandstones in an energy efficient process since fracture paths propagate through the weak phyllosilicate matrix. Extensional crack propagation in the igneous rocks is an energy intensive process since a significant proportion of the available drilling energy is consumed in the formation of intra-granular fracture paths. Observational and correlated data are supportive of the suggestion that the texture coefficient is a measure of the resistance of the microstructure of a rock to crack propagation, whether it be inter-or intra-granular. The texture coefficient can be used as a predictive tool for the assessment of drillability and rock strength properties. The technique offers a useful approach in understanding fracture initiation and growth as controlled by the texture of intact rock samples.
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 86 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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