Nonlinear elastodynamic response of fractured rocks carries crucial information on fracture features that can be exploited to forecast flow properties, friction constitutive behavior and poromechanical response. Well-controlled laboratory experiments are designed to measure the nonlinear elastodynamic response of Westerly granite in three states: dry intact, dry fractured and saturated fractured. We study the effect of fracturing and saturation in modifying the elastodynamic response of the rock. Each sample is tested at a normal stress level of 15 MPa. We measure the elastodynamic response of an intact L-shaped sample of Westerly Granite subjected to normal stress oscillations of prescribed amplitudes (0.2–1 MPa) and frequencies (0.1, 1, 10 Hz). Ultrasonic waves transmitted across the sample are used to monitor the evolution of wave velocity before, during and after dynamic stressing. The nonlinearity of the elastodynamic response is measured in terms of: (1) the offset in normalized wave velocity; (2) the amplitude of wave velocity fluctuation during the oscillations; and (3) recovery rate of the wave velocity post-oscillation. We observe that the three nonlinearity parameters show a similar trend. Irrespective of the parameter, the nonlinearity measures higher for sample in dry-intact condition than that for dry-fractured and the saturated-fractured sample exhibits smaller nonlinearity than the dry-fractured sample. As expected, the saturated sample exhibits less nonlinearity than the dry intact and fractured samples due to the presence of interstitial fluid and the resulting increased interface stiffness. Conversely, the dry intact rock shows a higher nonlinearity than the dry fractured. We use numerical simulations to show that the presence of fracture significantly alters the strain distribution across the bulk of the sample and only the contacting asperities are highly strained, thus resulting in a decrease in the measured elastodynamic nonlinearity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology