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Developing a constitutive model for rock fracture under hydraulic fatigue loading through XCT experiments.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, March 16, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Fracturing of rocks is an important part of several geological engineering applications geothermal energy, unconventional hydrocarbons, water resources). The Smart Pumps Prosperity Partnership has shown that hydraulic pulses cause fatigue of rocks, opening up the possibility that subsurface energy resources can be used in a more effective way while minimising seismicity. To develop a smart pumping system using pulsed technology, the response of rocks to fatigue needs to be fully understood. The fundamental research question is how the strength and toughness of rocks are degraded as the result of fatigue induced by hydraulic pulses under confining stress.

This PhD will investigate the fracture behaviour of in-situ rocks subjected to fatigue induced by hydraulic pulses. Closed-loop direct/compact tensile experiments on rock under cyclic loads will be conducted. X-CT will be used to identify the microcracks or damage caused by fatigue under different loading levels. A constitutive model will then be developed to quantitatively define the relationship between the fracture behaviour of rocks and the hydraulic pulses. This work will enable accurate prediction of rock fracture under pulses and the simulated results will benefit a technology for well stimulation; making it more effective and environmental friendly.

The successful applicant will firstly design an experimental methodology and conduct the closed-loop direct/compact fatigue tensile tests on rocks. Stable and reliable results should be obtained and analysed for understanding the mechanism of rock degradation process under cyclic loads. X-ray CT equipment will be used to identify the fatigue crack characteristics during/after the mechanical tests. A fatigue fracture constitutive model will be proposed and parameterised by the experimental results.

The student would join the University of Strathclyde’s 60-credit postgraduate training programme leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

The student will benefit from interaction with other academics and PhD students within an active research community, as well as being embedded within the SMART Pumps for Subsurface Engineering Project, a joint EPSRC-industry funded multi-institutional partnership, and interacting and engaging with researchers at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh

Funding Notes

UK/EU students full scholarship; International students need to cover the difference between home and international fees.

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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