Initiation and propagation of compaction bands in dry and wet bentheim sandstone

Sergei Stanchits, Jerome Fortin, Yves Gueguen, Georg Dresen

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We investigated initiation and propagation of compaction bands (CB) in six wet and four dry Bentheim sandstone samples deformed in axial compression tests with strain rates ranging from 3.2 × 10-8s-1 to 3.2 × 10-4 s-1. Circumferential notches with 0.8-mm width and 5-mm depth served to initiate CB at mid-sample length. Wet samples were saturated with distilled water and deformed at 195 MPa confining pressure and 10 MPa pore pressure. Dry samples were deformed at 185 MPa confining pressure. Twelve P-wave sensors, eight S-wave sensors and two pairs of orthogonally oriented strain-gages were glued to the sample surface to monitor acoustic emission (AE), velocities and local strain during the loading process. Nucleation of compaction bands is indicated by AE clusters close to the notch tips. With progressive loading, AE activity increased and AE hypocenters indicated propagation of a single CB normal to the sample axis. CB propagation from the sample periphery towards the centre was monitored. Microstructural analysis of deformed samples shows excellent agreement between location of AE clusters and CBs. In both dry and wet samples the lateral propagation of CBs was about 100 times faster than axial shortening rates. At the slowest displacement rate, AE activity during band propagation was reduced and CB nucleation in wet samples occurred at 20% lower stresses. This may indicate an increasing contribution of stress corrosion processes to the formation of the compaction bands. In dry and wet samples inelastic compaction energy per area ranged between 16 and 80 kJ m-2. This is in good agreement with previous estimates from laboratory and field studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-868
Number of pages26
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number5-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic emission
  • Compaction bands
  • Fracture
  • Rock


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