Plane Strain Testing with Passive Restraint

Roman Makhnenko, Joseph Labuz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A plane strain condition for testing rock is developed through passive restraint in the form of a thick-walled cylinder. The so-called biaxial frame generates the intermediate principal stress that imposes a triaxial state of stress on a prismatic specimen. Major and minor principal stresses and corresponding strains are accurately measured, providing data to calculate the elastic (Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio), inelastic (dilatancy angle), and strength (friction angle and cohesion) parameters of the rock. Results of experiments conducted on Indiana limestone in plane strain compression are compared with the results of axisymmetric compression and extension. With proper system calibration, Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio are consistent among the tests. The plane strain apparatus enforces in-plane deformation with the three principal stresses at failure being different, and it allows one to determine the Paul-Mohr-Coulomb failure surface, which includes an intermediate stress effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2029
Number of pages9
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dilatancy
  • Intermediate stress effect
  • Passive restraint
  • Paul-Mohr-Coulomb failure surface
  • Plane strain testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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