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Shock and Vibration
Volume 2017, Article ID 4010376, 14 pages
Research Article

Experimental Study on the Softening Characteristics of Sandstone and Mudstone in Relation to Moisture Content

1School of Mines, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
2Key Laboratory of Deep Coal Resource Mining, Ministry of Education of China, Xuzhou 221116, China
3School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to Chong-chong Qi; ua.ude.awu.tneduts@24084912

Received 19 December 2016; Accepted 15 January 2017; Published 22 February 2017

Academic Editor: M. I. Herreros

Copyright © 2017 Gui-chen Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The kinetics of fluid-solid coupling during immersion is an important topic of investigation in rock engineering. Two rock types, sandstone and mudstone, are selected in this work to study the correlation between the softening characteristics of the rocks and moisture content. This is achieved through detailed studies using scanning electron microscopy, shear tests, and evaluation of rock index properties during exposure to different moisture contents. An underground roadway excavation is simulated by dynamic finite element modeling to analyze the effect of moisture content on the stability of the roadway. The results show that moisture content has a significant effect on shear properties reduction of both sandstone and mudstone, which must thus be considered in mining or excavation processes. Specifically, it is found that the number, area, and diameter of micropores, as well as surface porosity, increase with increasing moisture content. Additionally, stress concentration is negatively correlated with moisture content, while the influenced area and vertical displacement are positively correlated with moisture content. These findings may provide useful input for the design of underground roadways.