For brittle friction and rock deformation, the coefficient
Critical processes including seismic faulting, reservoir compartmentalization, and borehole failure involve high‐pressure mechanical behavior and strain localization of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone. Sand is often used as a model material to study the mechanical behavior of poorly lithified sandstone. Recent studies exploring the multi‐scale mechanics of sand have characterized the brittle, low‐pressure regime of behavior; however, limited work has provided insights into the ductile, high‐pressure regime of behavior via
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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For brittle friction and rock deformation, the coefficient
αin the general effective stress relation σ e= σ− αP pcan be approximated as unity with sufficient accuracy. However, it is uncertain if αdeviates from unity for semibrittle flow when both brittle and intracrystalline‐plastic deformation is involved. We conducted triaxial and isostatic compression experiments on synthetic salt‐rocks (∼300 ppm water) at room temperature to test the effective stress relation in the semibrittle regime using silicone oil and argon gas as pore fluids. Confining and pore pressures were cycled while their difference (differential pressure) was kept constant, such that changes in the mechanical behavior would indicate deviation of αfrom unity. Microstructural observations were used to determine the dependence of αon true area of grain contact from asperity yielding. In triaxial compression experiments, semibrittle flow involves grain boundary cracking and sliding, and intragranular dislocation glide and cracking. Flow strength remains constant for changes in pore fluid pressure of more than two orders of magnitude. In isostatic compression experiments, samples show combined processes of microcracking, grain boundary sliding, dislocation glide, and fluid‐assisted grain boundary migration recrystallization. Volumetric strain depends directly on the differential pressures (i.e., αequals one). Analysis of grain‐contact area in both experiments indicates that αis independent of the true area of contact defined by plastic yielding at grain boundaries. The observation of αeffectively equals one may be explained by operation of pressure‐independent intracrystalline‐plastic mechanisms and transmission of pore pressure at grain boundaries through thin fluid films.
Abstract Carbonate sediments play a prominent role on the global geological stage as they store more than $$60\%$$ 60 % of world’s oil and $$40\%$$ 40 % of world’s gas reserves. Prediction of the deformation and failure of porous carbonates is, therefore, essential to minimise reservoir compaction, fault reactivation, or wellbore instability. This relies on our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the observed inelastic response to fluid injection or deviatoric stress perturbations. Understanding the impact of deformation/failure on the hydraulic properties of the rock is also essential as injection/production rates will be affected. In this work, we present new experimental results from triaxial deformation experiments carried out to elucidate the behaviour of a porous limestone reservoir analogue (Savonnières limestone). Drained triaxial and isotropic compression tests were conducted at five different confining pressures in dry and water-saturated conditions. Stress–strain data and X-ray tomography images of the rock indicate two distinct types of deformation and failure regimes: at low confinement (10 MPa) brittle failure in the form of dilatant shear banding was dominant; whereas at higher confinement compaction bands orthogonal to the maximum principal stress formed. In addition to the pore pressure effect, the presence of water in the pore space significantly weakened the rock, thereby shrinking the yield envelope compared to the dry conditions, and shifted the brittle–ductile transition to lower effective confining pressures (from 35 MPa to 29 MPa). Finally, permeability measurements during deformation show a reduction of an order of magnitude in the ductile regime due to the formation of the compaction bands. These results highlight the importance of considering the role of the saturating fluid in the brittle–ductile response of porous rocks and elucidate some of the microstructural processes taking place during this transition.more » « less
Triaxial compression experiments are commonly used to characterize the elastic and inelastic behavior of geomaterials. In situ measurements of grain kinematics, particle breakage, stresses, and other microscopic phenomena have seldom been made during such experiments, particularly at high pressures relevant to many geologic and man-made processes, limiting our fundamental understanding. To address this issue, we developed a new triaxial compression device called HP-TACO (High-Pressure TriAxial COmpression Apparatus). HP-TACO is a miniaturized, conventional triaxial compression apparatus permitting confining pressures up to 50 MPa and deviatoric straining of materials, while also allowing in situ x-ray measurements of grain-scale kinematics and stresses. Here, we present the design of and first results from HP-TACO during its use in laboratory and synchrotron settings to study grain-scale kinematics and stresses in triaxially compressed sands subjected to 15 and 30 MPa confining pressures. The data highlight the unique capabilities of HP-TACO for studying the high-pressure mechanics of sands, providing new insight into micromechanical processes occurring during geologic and man-made processes.
To study the mechanical behavior of polymineralic rocks, we performed deformation experiments on two‐phase aggregates of olivine (Ol) + ferropericlase (Per) with periclase fractions (
fPer) between 0.1 and 0.8. Each sample was deformed in torsion at T= 1523 K, P= 300 MPa at a constant strain rate to a final shear strain of γ= 6 to 7. The stress‐strain data and calculated values of the stress exponent, n, indicate that Ol in our samples deformed by dislocation‐accommodated sliding along grain interfaces while Per deformed via dislocation creep. At shear strains of γ< 1, the strengths of samples with fPer > 0.5 match model predictions for both phases deforming at the same stress, the lower‐strength bound for two‐phase materials, while the strengths of samples with fPer < 0.5 are greater than predicted by models for both phases deforming at the same strain rate, the upper‐strength bound. These observations suggest a transition from a weak‐phase supported to a strong‐phase supported regime with decreasing fPer. Above γ= 4, however, the strength of all two‐phase samples is greater than those predicted by either the uniform‐stress or the uniform‐strain rate bound. We hypothesize that the high strengths in the Ol + Per system are due to the presence of phase boundaries in two‐phase samples, for which deformation is rate limited by dislocation motion along interfacial boundaries. This observation contrasts with the mechanical behavior of samples consisting of Ol + pyroxene, which are weaker, possibly due to impurities at phase boundaries.
We conducted experiments to investigate the influence of pore fluid pressure on the frictional strength and slip behavior of gouge bearing faults. Saw cut porous sandstone samples with a layer of gouge powders placed between the precut surfaces were deformed in the conventional triaxial loading configuration. A series of velocity‐step tests were performed to measure the response of the friction coefficient to variations in sliding velocity. Pore volume changes were monitored during shearing of the gouge. Our results demonstrate that under constant effective pressure, increasing pore pressure stabilizes the frictional slip of faults with all four gouge materials including antigorite, olivine, quartz, and chrysotile. The stabilizing effect is the strongest in antigorite gouge, which shows an evolution of friction parameters from velocity‐weakening toward velocity‐strengthening behavior with increasing pore pressure. Experiments with controlled pore volume show that the pore volume reduction diminishes under high pore fluid pressures, implying an increasing dilation component at these conditions. The dilatant hardening mechanism can explain the observed strengthening. These results provide a possible explanation to the observed spatial correlation between slow slip events and high pore pressure in many subduction zones.