1887
Volume 55, Issue 3
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The impact of thermally induced microfractures on the stress‐sensitive elastic wave properties of aeolian Rotliegend sandstone samples is analysed. It is found that to identify the effects of the microfracture contribution accurately, a correction must first be made to account for water loss (representing a mass loss of 4–6%) from the pore throats and clays due to the heating process, despite care being taken to ensure that the thermally fractured samples re‐adsorb room moisture. Both the original and thermally fractured rocks are stress‐sensitive at the ultrasonic wave frequencies of the laboratory. However, a distinct shift in the estimated distribution of internal rock compliance indicates that the population of thermal microfractures differs in nature from that caused solely by core‐plug extraction damage. In particular, the ratio of normal to tangential compliance is observed to be higher for the thermally generated microfractures than for the broken grain‐grain contacts created by extraction unloading. This can be explained by the intragranular thermal‐fracture surfaces being smoother when compared to the intergranular boundaries. Mechanical hysteresis is observed between the up‐ and downgoing test cycles for both the original and, to a greater extent, the thermally fractured rock. This indicates that there is compaction‐induced movement of the fractures in the samples during application of stress in the laboratory.

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2007-04-13
2020-03-29
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