Experimental study of localised deformation in porous sandstones
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This PhD thesis presents a laboratory study aiming at a better understanding of the stress-strain response of the Vosges sandstone (porous rock) tested at a range of confining pressures (i.e., 20-190 MPa) and different axial strain levels. Localised deformation was captured at different scales by a combination of full-field experimental methods, including Ultrasonic Tomography (2D), Acoustic Emissions (3D), X-ray Tomography (3D), and 3D volumetric Digital Image Correlation, plus thin section and Scanning Electron Microscope observations (2D). These experimental methods were performed before, during and after a number of triaxial compression tests. The combined use of the experimental techniques, which have different sensitivity and resolution, described the processes of shear band and shear-enhanced compaction band generation, which formed at low to intermediate and relatively high confining pressures, respectively. Pure compaction bands were not identified. The deformation bands were characterised as zones of localised shear and/or volumetric strain and were captured by the experimental methods as features of low ultrasonic velocities, places of inter- and intra-granular cracking and structures of higher density material. The two main grain-scale mechanisms: grain breakage (damage) and porosity reduction (compaction) were identified in both shear band and shear-enhanced compaction band formation, which presented differences in the proportions of the mechanism and their order of occurrence in time.