Bull Eng Geol Environ (2008) 67:491–498
DOI 10.1007/s100640080158x
ORIGINAL PAPER 
Ibrahim _ C¸ obanog˘ lu Æ Sefer Beran C¸ elik
Received: 22 October 2007 / Accepted: 29 March 2008 / Published online: 15 May 2008
SpringerVerlag 2008
Abstract Uniaxial compressive strength is considered
one of the most important parameters in the characterization
of rock material in rock engineering practice. The study
investigated correlations between uniaxial compressive
strength and point load index, Pwave velocity and Schmidt
hardness rebound number together with the effects of core
diameter size. A total of 150 core samples at ﬁve different
diameters (54, 48, 42, 30 and 21 mm) were obtained from
sandstone, limestone and cement mortar. Ten saturated
samples at each diameter (length:diameter ratio 2:1) were
prepared from each of the three materials. The best corre
lations were found between uniaxial compressive strength
and point load or Schmidt hammer values. The closest
relationship was observed for the 48 mm diameter cores.
Keywords
Uniaxial compressive strength
Point load strength index
Schmidt hammer rebound value Sonic wave velocity
Re´ sume´ La re´ sistance a` la compression simple est con
side´ re´ e comme l’un des parame` tres les plus importants pour
caracte´ riser la re´ sistance de la matrice rocheuse dans les
applications de la me´ canique des roches. L’e´ tude s’est
in
te´ resse´ e aux corre´ lations entre la re´ sistance a` la compression
simple et l’indice d’e´ crasement entre pointes, la vitesse des
ondes P et l’indice de rebond au marteau de Schmidt, con
side´ rant
de plus l’inﬂuence du diame` tre des carottes teste´ es.
Au total, 150 e´ chantillons de gre` s, calcaires et mortiers de
I. _ C¸ obanog˘ lu (&) S. B. C¸ elik
Department of Geological Engineering, Pamukkale University,
20017 Kınıklı Campus, Denizli, Turkey
email: icobanoglu@pau.edu.tr
S. B. C¸ elik
email: scelik@pau.edu.tr
ciment, dans cinq diame` tres diffe´ rents (54, 48, 42, 30 et
21 mm) ont e´ te´ pre´ pare´ s. Dix e´ chantillons sature´ s ont e´ te´
teste´ s pour les trois types
de roche et pour chaque diame` tre
(ratio longueur/diame` tre =
2/1). Les meilleures corre´ la
tions ont
e´ te´ trouve´ es entre la re´ sistance a` la compression
simple et la re´ sistance entre pointes ou l’indice de rebond de
Schmidt. Les relations les plus pre´ cises ont e´ te´ obtenues
pour les e´ chantillons de diame` tre 48 mm.
Mots cle´ s
Re´ sistance a` la compression simple
Indice de re´ sistance entre pointes
Indice de rebond de Schmidt
Vitesse de propagation du son
Introduction
Many studies have considered the possibility of a quick and
easy way to estimate the uniaxial compressive strength
(UCS) of rock based on Schmidt hammer rebound (SHR),
point load (Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} ), Pwave velocity (Vp), slake durability
index (SDI) and Shore hardness (SH). Of these parameters,
SHR, Is _{5}_{0} and Vp tests are the most widely used as they are
comparatively cheap and easy to apply, with the point load
test being the most common for stronger rocks, e.g.
Wiesner and Gillate (1997).
There are various studies in the literature proposing
relationships between Is _{5}_{0} and UCS (Broch and Franklin
1972; Bieniawski 1975; Pells 1975; Hawkins 1998; Al Jassar
and Hawkins 1979; Hawkins and Olver 1986; Norbury 1986;
Romana 1999; Thuro and Plinninger 2005; Wiesner and
Gillate 1997; Palchik and Hatzor 2004). Tsiambaos and
Sabatakakis (2004) reported that there are many factors
which affect the correlation between UCS and Is _{5}_{0} and
conﬁrmed that different conversion factors are required for
soft to hard rocks.
492
_
I. C¸ obanog˘ lu and S. B. C¸ elik
Fig. 1 The thin sections of the samples: L—ﬁne grained limestone;
S—calcerous ﬁne grained sandstone; C—Cement mortar with
microsparitic limestone grains
Palchik and Hatzor (2004) investigated the effect of
porosity on the Brazilian, UCS and Is _{5}_{0} tests for porous
chalkstones from Israel and determined conversion factors
of between 8 and 18 for relating UCS and Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} .
A number of authors (Hassani et al. 1980; Forster 1983;
Ghosh and Srivastava 1991) studied the inﬂuence of rock
specimen diameter on Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} . Ghosh and Srivastava (1991)
considered the ideal diameter for obtaining a result corre
latable with UCS is 40–50 mm.
Materials tested
Blocks of sandstone and limestone were obtained from
quarries and natural
outcrops
in
the
areas
around
Nig˘ deUlukıs¸la and Antalya, respectively, and carefully
checked to ensure they were homogeneous and free from
visible weaknesses. As the empirical results could be
affected by the structural characteristics of the rock,
cement mortar samples were also prepared (Fig. 1). This
consisted of Serinhisar sand, with an average grain size
of 1.7 mm, a coefﬁcient of uniformity (C _{u} ) of 3.45 and a
coefﬁcient of curvature (C _{c} ) of 0.86, mixed with cement
and water with a ratio of 3:1:0.5. After the cylinders
were cast, the samples were vibrated for 25 s and left
covered for 24 h, after which they stood in a water bath
for 56 days.
A total of 150 cores were prepared from the sandstone,
limestone and cement mortar, with ﬁve different diameters:
54, 48, 42, 30 and 21 mm. The length:diameter ratio of the
cores was 2:1, following ASTM (1984). The ends of the
cores were smoothed to within 0.02 mm and perpendicu
larity was kept at 0.05 mm. Cut cores may have slight
imperfections hence to ensure the results were comparable,
the lengths and diameters of the cores were checked and an
average of the ten measurements for each diameter size
was used in the calculations. The maximum and minimum
values for unit weight and water content are given in
Table 1.
Thin section investigations
According to the results of the petrographical examina
tion, the limestone samples were dominantly calcite: the
calcite minerals sporadically showing polysynthetic twin
ning. In addition to pellets, intraclasts of sand, gravel and
rarely ﬁner grains were present in a matrix of sparry
calcite. The material is classiﬁed as ﬁnegrained limestone
(intramicrosparite).
The sandstone samples contained calcite, subangular
quartz, chlorite and to a lesser extent plagioclase, musco
vite and biotite as well as varying amounts of opaque
minerals, some of which showed evidence of oxidation.
The samples also included chert fragments in microcrystal
form. The material is classiﬁed as calcareous cemented
ﬁnegrained sandstone (calcarenite).
The mortar samples consisted of subrounded or elon
gate micriticmicrosparitic limestone, microspar, calcite
and rounded pellets with a cement matrix.
Table 1 Some physical properties of the core samples
Code 
Type 
Sample diameters (mm) 
Dry unit weight (kN/m ^{3} ) 
Saturated unit weight (kN/m ^{3} ) 
Water content (%) 
C 
Cement mortar 
54, 48, 42, 30, 21 
21.01–21.22 
22.79–22.99 
8.131–8.740 
S 
Sandstone 
54, 48, 42, 30, 21 
26.02–26.18 
26.21–26.35 
0.663–0.744 
L 
Limestone 
54, 48, 42, 30, 21 
24.14–24.71 
24.94–25.28 
2.400–3.273 
Estimation of UCS from quicker/simpler tests
493
Table 2 Test data of the samples
Sample
name
Core
diameter,
d (mm)
Water
content
(%)
UCS
(MPa)
Point
load
index
^{I}
s50
(MPa)
Vp
(km/s)
Schmidt
hardness
rebound
value
CA1
CA2
CA3
CA4
CA5
LA1
LA2
LA3
LA4
LA5
SA1
SA2
SA3
SA4
SA5
CB1
CB2
CB3
CB4
CB5
LB1
LB2
LB3
LB4
LB5
SB1
SB2
SB3
SB4
SB5
CC1
CC2
CC3
CC4
CC5
LC1
LC2
LC3
LC4
LC5
SC1
SC2
SC3
SC4
SC5
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
48
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
8,515
8,233
8,752
8,842
9,009
1,883
2,343
2,506
2,543
2,957
0,605
0,773
0,620
0,628
0,990
7,190
7,397
7,727
7,908
8,135
3,050
2,787
3,130
3,209
4,136
0,462
0,505
0,509
0,559
0,589
7,614
7,695
8,157
8,229
8,261
1,639
2,399
2,493
2,811
2,992
0,509
0,517
0,532
0,590
0,738
35,277
37,497
37,520
37,841
40,530
62,973
63,695
74,074
74,113
74,931
82,657
85,247
97,941
105,420
105,471
28,785
33,922
38,917
43,209
43,865
40,924
49,306
54,374
58,420
72,760
76,654
90,350
93,380
103,237
111,670
25,357
32,790
33,340
34,132
44,398
54,130
60,611
65,368
69,613
75,410
71,553
89,498
98,364
103,239
120,881
2,442
2,850
3,150
3,438
3,501
3,594
3,860
3,938
4,050
4,408
7,425
8,500
9,500
11,290
11,356
3,419
3,419
3,420
3,445
4,297
4,791
6,058
6,300
6,531
7,806
7,416
8,043
8,261
8,682
9,593
3,161
3,322
3,817
4,212
4,540
5,359
5,386
5,628
8,532
8,543
8,694
8,990
9,344
9,656
9,744
3,982
4,031
4,045
4,048
4,054
4,753
4,799
4,866
4,869
5,109
4,911
4,926
4,973
4,979
5,007
4,051
4,056
4,065
4,071
4,100
4,627
4,665
4,736
4,748
4,764
4,792
4,811
4,827
4,830
4,846
3,956
3,995
4,013
4,019
4,037
4,693
4,696
4,746
4,795
4,982
4,627
4,716
4,721
4,726
4,746
38
38
40
40
40
43
44
44
45
46
40
42
44
46
48
Table 2 continued 

Sample 
Core 
Water 
UCS 
Point 
Vp 
Schmidt 

name 
diameter, 
content 
(MPa) 
load 
(km/s) 
hardness 

d (mm) 
(%) 
index 
rebound 

^{I} 
s50 
value 

(MPa) 

CD1 
30 
7,676 
38,166 
2,805 

CD2 
30 
7,740 
39,127 
3,174 

CD3 
30 
8,008 
41,517 
3,258 

CD4 
30 
8,020 
43,634 
3,703 

CD5 
30 
8,023 
44,659 
5,317 

LD1 
30 
2,829 
40,949 
5,225 

LD2 
30 
3,337 
50,349 
5,366 

LD3 
30 
3,354 
55,036 
7,103 

LD4 
30 
4,010 
55,062 
7,740 

LD5 
30 
4,081 
57,481 
8,205 

SD1 
30 
0,560 
88,293 
8,917 

SD2 
30 
0,593 
93,411 
9,817 

SD3 
30 
0,602 
103,446 
10,272 

SD4 
30 
0,835 
111,039 
10,988 

SD5 
30 
1,130 
114,732 
11,254 

CE1 
21 
7,298 
32,808 
4,345 

CE2 
21 
7,612 
37,216 
4,424 

CE3 
21 
7,633 
38,791 
4,701 

CE4 
21 
7,924 
40,351 
5,113 

CE5 
21 
7,975 
45,611 
5,436 

LE1 
21 
1,956 
47,605 
4,496 

LE2 
21 
3,189 
55,221 
5,354 

LE3 
21 
3,323 
85,709 
5,532 

LE4 
21 
3,602 
89,637 
6,017 

LE5 
21 
3,898 
91,262 
6,021 

SE1 
21 
0,448 
84,012 
5,925 

SE2 
21 
0,514 
92,528 
11,440 

SE3 
21 
0,669 
96,703 
11,878 

SE4 
21 
1,288 
99,894 
11,932 

SE5 
21 
1,491 
146,834 
13,350 
Uniaxial compressive tests
Uniaxial compressive strength tests were carried out using
a loading rate of 0.5 MPa/s. Five tests were undertaken for
each core size (54, 48, 42, 30, 21 mm) of each material
type (total 75 samples, see Table 2).
The relationship between the UCS value and the size of
core is indicated in Fig. 2. The highest value for the
limestone (102 MPa) was obtained on the 21 mm sample
and the lowest (68 MPa) on the 54 mm sample, with a
pronounced reduction of 25 MPa between the 48 and
54 mm diameter cores. The highest strength for the sand
stones (84 MPa) was on the larger diameter cores (54 mm),
and the lowest strength (50 MPa) on the 30 mm samples.
494
_
I. C¸ obanog˘ lu and S. B. C¸ elik
Core Diameter (mm)
Fig. 2 UCS values of rock types for different core diameters
There was less variation in the strength of the cement
mortar samples which ranged between 36 MPa (42 mm
diameter) and 40 MPa (30 mm). It would appear therefore
that the compressive strength is affected not only by the
core size but also by the lithological characteristics.
Hoek and Brown (1980) reviewed the inﬂuence of the
diameter of a specimen on the measured strength of dif
ferent types of rocks. They proposed the following
equation (Eq. 1) can be used to relate UCS estimated from
samples with different core diameters.
r C 50 ¼ 
r C 
^{ð}^{1}^{Þ} 


50 

0:18 

d 

where; 

r 
_{C}_{5}_{0} 
: UCS value calculated for 50 mm diameter core 
r _{C}
sample,
: UCS value calculated for sample which has a
different core diameter size,
d : sample diameter (mm).
Fig. 3 Inﬂuence of specimen size on the strength of investigated core
samples
Core Diameter (mm)
Fig. 4 Variations of Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} values with core diameters
increased from 5.6 to 8.8 (Table 2). In the case of the
cement mortar, there was a slight decrease from 4.8 for the
21 mm cores to 2.8 for the 54 mm cores.
Not all authors who reported point load strength iden
Hawkins (1998) stated that the results of his studies on 
tiﬁed the particular rock types on which the results were 
sedimentary rocks samples do not support the equation 
obtained. Al Jassar and Hawkins (1979) investigated the 
presented by Hoek and Brown (1980) who used mainly 
change in the point load strength index for specimens 
crystalline (igneous) rocks. Hawkins found the maximum 
having 30, 50 and 76 mm diameters, in ﬁve groups of 
strength range to be obtained on 38–54 mm diameter 
limestone and one group of dolomite. They identiﬁed a 
samples and that UCS values declined above or below this 
signiﬁcant decrease in the point load strength index with 
range. The present study does not extend the diameters 
increase in core size. In this study, similar results were 
above 54 mm but the relationship shown by Hawkins is not 
observed for the limestone and cement mortar specimens 
apparent in Fig. 3. 
but the sandstone results did not follow this trend. 
The relationship between the Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} and UCS values 

obtained in this study for the ﬁve core diameters are given 

Point load tests 
in Fig. 5. Although there is a very evident spread of values, 
As seen in Fig. 4, the point load test results indicate that for
the 21–54 mm diameter samples the I _{S}_{5}_{0} for the limestones
decreased from 10.6 to 3.8 while for the sandstones it
equations have been derived relating these two properties
based on a straightline relationship (Table 3).
D’Andrea et al. (1965), using 25 mm diameter speci
mens, suggested a multiplier of 16 when relating I _{S}_{5}_{0} to
Estimation of UCS from quicker/simpler tests
495
Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} (MPa)
Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} (MPa)
Fig. 5 The relation between Is _{5}_{0} and UCS values of samples depend
on core diameters
Table 3 Derived equations with different core diameters
Core diameter (mm)
UCS–Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} equation
2
r
54 UCS = 7.18 Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} + 27.78
48 UCS = 11.78 Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)}  9.17
42 UCS = 10.73 Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)}  5.50
30 UCS = 8.87 Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} + 4.11
21 UCS = 8.25 Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} + 14.02
0.80
0.91
0.88
0.86
0.67
UCS. Broch and Franklin (1972) proposed a value of 24 for
38 mm diameter specimens. Hawkins and Olver (1986),
testing rocks from a single site in the Corallian in the UK
found values of 26.5 for limestone, 24.8 for sandstone and
9.3 for siltstone (core diameters corrected to 50 mm).
Ghosh and Srivastava (1991) pointed out that a specimen
size/platen distance of 40–50 mm is ideal for point load
testing.
For some rocks, the relationship between the point load
index and the UCS value also depends on whether the
comparison is with the UCS _{d}_{r}_{y} or UCS _{w}_{e}_{t} . Clearly, with dry
specimens the cones of the point load machine will create a
brittle fracture without penetration into the rock, whereas
with wet/saturated specimens some penetration of the cone
may occur. Hawkins (1998) reported the UCS strength of
saturated sandstone samples may be only half to three
quarters of that obtained on dry samples. As mentioned
earlier, in this study saturated samples were used in both
the UCS and Is _{5}_{0} tests. The results are given in Fig. 6
which shows a signiﬁcant variation on either side of the
regression line.
Sonic velocity tests
The relationship between uniaxial compressive strength
and sonic velocity (V _{p} ) was investigated by D’Andrea et al.
(1965) and McCann et al. (1990 in Entwisle et al. 2005) for
Is50 (MPa)
Fig. 6 Correlation of Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} and UCS values of tested samples
496
_
I. C¸ obanog˘ lu and S. B. C¸ elik
3,8 
4,0 
4,2 
4,4 
4,6 
4,8 
5,0 
5,2 
36 
38 
40 
42 
44 
46 
48 
50 

Vp (km/s) 
Schmidt Hardness Rebound Number 

Fig. 7 
Correlation of sonic velocities and UCS values of tested Fig. 9 Correlation of SHR and UCS values of tested samples 

samples 
PWave Velocity, Vp (km/s)
Fig. 8 The comparison of the derived equation with the previous
studies between Vp and UCS
different rock types. In the present study, a total of 45
samples with a diameter greater than 30 mm were used
(Table 2). The relationship between Pwave velocity and
UCS is depicted in Fig. 7. A comparison of the equations
obtained in this study with the equations of Go¨ ktan (1988)
and Kahraman (2001) is shown in Fig. 8.
Schmidt Hammer test
A total of 15 NX sized core samples were tested using the
Ltype Schmidt hammer and a rock cradle following ISRM
(1981). The relationship between Schmidt hammer
rebound number and uniaxial compressive strength is given
in Fig. 9. The test data are shown in Table 2.
Various empirical equations have been proposed for
calculating uniaxial compressive strength from Schmidt
hammer rebound number (Singh et al. 1983; O’Rourke
1989; Sachpazis 1990; Katz et al. 2000; Yas¸ar and
Erdog˘ an 2004), and both linear and exponential functions
have been used by different researchers to correlate these
parameters. In this study, linear function gave the highest
correlation coefﬁcient. The proposed correlation between
SHR and UCS values is only applicable to saturated
samples.
Regression analyses and assessment of the prediction
performance
Initially, simple regression analyses were performed to
deﬁne the type of the relationship between dependent and
independent parameters by considering linear functions.
The results are given in Table 4 with their correlation
coefﬁcients.
Multiple regression analysis is a powerful modelling
technique which can help in the evaluation of the
mechanical properties of rock. Figure 10 shows the results
for ﬁve models. Model 5 explains 98.8% of the total var
iation in the 15 UCS tests undertaken. To assess the
Table 4 Some statistical
parameters on evaluation of
validity of derived equations
Model no. 
UCS model (MPa) 
Std. error 
r ^{2} 
VAF (%) 
RMSE 

13.63 
76.4 
76 
0.03 


15.36 
67.0 
82 
6.16 


15.06 
64.7 
75 
5.05 


10.4 
85.2 
85 
0.76 


3.10 
98.8 
99 
1.96 
Estimation of UCS from quicker/simpler tests
497
UCS (MPa)
Fig. 10 Predicted UCS versus actual UCS graphs for 5 models
performance of the multiple regression models, Root Mean
Square Error (RMSE, Eq. 2) and Variance Account (VAF,
Eq. 3) were used: 

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 

RMSE ¼ 
v u u t 
1 N N X ðy _{i} y 
i 
Þ ^{2} 

i¼1 

varðy _{i} y 

Þ 
100 

VAF ¼ 
1 
i 

varðy _{i} Þ 
ð2Þ
ð3Þ
where y _{i} is the measured value, y ^{*} _{i} is the estimated value
and N is the number of samples. If the VAF is 100 and
RMSE is 0, the model proposed would be excellent. As can
be seen in Table 4, the VAF values in particular indicate
this is a realistic prediction model.
Conclusions
Indirect methods are widely used to estimate rock
strength parameters. However, empirical studies show
that water content and core size have an enormous impact
on the test results and thus should not be neglected. In
this study, the Is _{5}_{0} , Vp and SHR have been compared
with the measured UCS of saturated limestone, sandstone
and cement mortar samples. The regression analysis
indicates there is a linear relationship between Is _{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} , V _{p}_{,}
SHR and UCS values.
Using all the point load values for the samples reported
in this article and others, the relationship between I _{s}_{(}_{5}_{0}_{)} and
uniaxial compressive strength is:
UCS ¼ 8:66 Is _{ð}_{5}_{0}_{Þ} þ 10:85 ^{} :
For the samples tested in this study, the relationship
between SHR and UCS is
ðUCS ¼ 6:59 SHR 212:63Þ:
The correlation between UCS values and Vp is not as
good, but was established as
ðUCS ¼ 56:71 Vp 192:93Þ:
From this study, the lithological properties of the rock
have a greater inﬂuence on the relationship between UCS
and Is _{5}_{0} values than the core diameter. Not surprisingly, the
two strengths for the cement mortar samples are very
similar for all the core diameter sizes while there is a
signiﬁcant variation with the natural samples.
It is important to note that the validity of the proposed
equations is limited by the data range and sample types
which were used to derive the equations. They should
therefore be only used with saturated rocks with similar
lithological characteristics to those reported here.
498
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I. C¸ obanog˘ lu and S. B. C¸ elik
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