Proposal of a New Parameter for the Weathering Characterization of Carbonate Flysch-Like Rock Masses: The Potential Degradation Index (PDI)

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Title: Proposal of a New Parameter for the Weathering Characterization of Carbonate Flysch-Like Rock Masses: The Potential Degradation Index (PDI)
Authors: Cano, Miguel | Tomás, Roberto
Research Group/s: Ingeniería del Terreno y sus Estructuras (InTerEs)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ingeniería Civil
Keywords: Potential degradation index | Slake durability test | Fragment size distribution | Carbonate heterogeneous rock masses | Weathering behaviour
Knowledge Area: Ingeniería del Terreno
Issue Date: 23-Jan-2016
Publisher: Springer Vienna
Citation: Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. 2016. doi:10.1007/s00603-016-0915-2
Abstract: The susceptibility of clay bearing rocks to weathering (erosion and/or differential degradation) is known to influence the stability of heterogeneous slopes. However, not all of these rocks show the same behaviour, as there are considerable differences in the speed and type of weathering observed. As such, it is very important to establish relationships between behaviour quantified in a laboratory environment with that observed in the field. The slake durability test is the laboratory test most commonly used to evaluate the relationship between slaking behaviour and rock durability. However, it has a number of disadvantages; it does not account for changes in shape and size in fragments retained in the 2 mm sieve, nor does its most commonly used index (Id2) accurately reflect weathering behaviour observed in the field. The main aim of this paper is to propose a simple methodology for characterizing the weathering behaviour of carbonate lithologies that outcrop in heterogeneous rock masses (such as Flysch slopes), for use by practitioners. To this end, the Potential Degradation Index (PDI) is proposed. This is calculated using the fragment size distribution curves taken from material retained in the drum after each cycle of the slake durability test. The number of slaking cycles has also been increased to five. Through laboratory testing of 117 samples of carbonate rocks, extracted from strata in selected slopes, 6 different rock types were established based on their slaking behaviour, and corresponding to the different weathering behaviours observed in the field.
Sponsor: This work was funded by the University of Alicante under the project GRE14–04, the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad del Gobierno de España in the framework of the projects TIN2014-55413-C2-2-P and TEC2011-28201-C02-02.
ISSN: 0723-2632 (Print) | 1434-453X (Online)
DOI: 10.1007/s00603-016-0915-2
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - INTERES - Artículos de Revistas

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