In order to study the mechanical characteristics and cracking behavior of jointed rock mass under hydro-mechanical coupling, a series of uniaxial compression tests and triaxial compression tests were carried out on cylinder gypsum specimens with a single pre-existing flaw. Under different confining pressures, water pressure was injected on the pre-existing flaw surface through a water injection channel. The geometrical morphology and tensile or shear properties of the cracks were determined by X-ray computed tomography (CT) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Based on the macro and micro observation, nine types of cracks that caused the specimen failure are summarized. The results of mechanical properties and crack behavior showed that the confining pressure inhibited the tensile cracks, and shear failure occurred under high confining pressure. The water pressure facilitated the initiation and extension of tensile crack, which made the specimens prone to tensile failure. However, under the condition of high confining pressure and low water pressure, the lubrication effect had a significant effect on the failure pattern, under which the specimens were prone to shear failure. This experimental research on mechanical properties and cracking behavior under hydro-mechanical coupling is expected to increase its fundamental understanding.
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