Evolution of fracture normal stiffness due to pressure dissolution and precipitation

Research paper by Philipp S. Lang, Adriana Paluszny; Robert W. Zimmerman

Indexed on: 18 Oct '16Published on: 23 Jul '16Published in: International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences


Publication date: October 2016 Source:International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Volume 88 Author(s): Philipp S. Lang, Adriana Paluszny, Robert W. Zimmerman The normal stiffness of a fracture is a key parameter that controls, for example, rock mass deformability, the change in hydraulic transmissivity due to stress changes, and the speed and attenuation of seismic waves that travel across the fracture. Non-linearity of normal stiffness as a function of stress is often attributed to plastic yield at discrete contacts. Similar surface-altering mechanisms occur due to pressure solution and precipitation over larger timescales. These processes partition the fracture surfaces into a flattened contact region, and a rough free surface that bounds the void space. Under low loads, contact occurs exclusively over the flattened part, leading to rapid, exponential stiffening. At higher loads, contact occurs over the rough surface fraction, leading to the conventional linear increase of stiffness with stress. It follows that a relationship exists between the history of in situ temperature and stress state of a rock fracture, and its subsequent deformation behavior. Graphical abstract Highlights fx1