Roughness of fracture surfaces in numerical models and laboratory experiments

Abe, Steffen; Deckert, Hagen

We investigate the influence of stress conditions during fracture formation on the geometry and roughness of fracture surfaces. Rough fracture surfaces have been generated in numerical simulations of triaxial deformation experiments using the discrete element method and in a small number of laboratory experiments on limestone and sandstone samples. Digital surface models of the rock samples fractured in the laboratory experiments were produced using high-resolution photogrammetry. The roughness of the surfaces was analyzed in terms of absolute roughness measures such as an estimated joint roughness coefficient (JRC) and in terms of its scaling properties. The results show that all analyzed surfaces are self-affine but with different Hurst exponents between the numerical models and the real rock samples. Results from numerical simulations using a wide range of stress conditions to generate the fracture surfaces show a weak decrease of the Hurst exponents with increasing confining stress and a larger absolute roughness for transversely isotropic stress conditions compared to true triaxial conditions. Other than that, our results suggest that stress conditions have little influence on the surface roughness of newly formed fractures.

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Abe, Steffen / Deckert, Hagen: Roughness of fracture surfaces in numerical models and laboratory experiments. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Steffen Abe

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