Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-51
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-51

  19 May 2021

19 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Roughness of Fracture Surfaces in Numerical Models and Laboratory Experiments

Steffen Abe and Hagen Deckert Steffen Abe and Hagen Deckert
  • Institute for geothermal resource management, Berlinstr. 107a, 55411 Bingen, Germany

Abstract. 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 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.

Steffen Abe and Hagen Deckert

Status: open (until 30 Jun 2021)

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Steffen Abe and Hagen Deckert

Steffen Abe and Hagen Deckert

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Short summary
We use numerical simulations and laboratory experiments on rock samples to investigate how stress conditions influence the geometry and roughness of fracture surfaces. The roughness of the surfaces was analysed in terms of absolute roughness and scaling properties. The results show that the surfaces are self-affine, but with different scaling properties between the numerical models and the real rock samples. Results suggest that stress conditions have little influence on the surface roughness.