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The phenomenon of core disking is commonly seen in deep drilling of highly stressed regions in the Earth’s crust. Given its close relationship with the in situ stress state, the presence and features of core disking can be used to interpret the stresses when traditional in situ stress measuring techniques are not available. The core disking process was simulated in this paper using the three-dimensional discrete element method software PFC3D (particle flow code). In particular, PFC3D is used to examine the evolution of fracture initiation, propagation and coalescence associated with core disking under various stress states. In this paper, four unresolved problems concerning core disking are investigated with a series of numerical simulations. These simulations also provide some verification of existing results by other researchers: (1) Core disking occurs when the maximum principal stress is about 6.5 times the tensile strength. (2) For most stress situations, core disking occurs from the outer surface, except for the thrust faulting stress regime, where the fractures were found to initiate from the inner part. (3) The anisotropy of the two horizontal principal stresses has an effect on the core disking morphology. (4) The thickness of core disk has a positive relationship with radial stress and a negative relationship with axial stresses.
Rock is a typical inhomogeneous material with a large number of flaws in different scales; the stress field of the rock in its elastic state consists of two parts: the elastic stress, which distributes uniformly in the entire region; and an additional stress, which only exists around the flaws. Theoretical expressions of the additional stress and local stress are derived based on the Maxwell model. Core disking which takes place under the condition that the axial stress is rapidly reduced while the confining pressure is kept unchanged is explained with a new method. Unloading duration’s effect on core disking is analyzed. A new criterion for core disking is presented based on attributing the core disking to the result of the exceedance of local tensile stress over the tensile strength. Based on our theoretical analysis and the conclusions from published resources, core disking is most likely to occur if the maximum principal stress is more than five to six times the tensile strength.
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