Development of a Pressure Vessel for Hydrothermal Control in Biaxial Deformation Experiments at the Penn State Rock Mechanics Laboratory

Project: Research project

Project Details




Support from this grant will facilitate construction of a custom-design biaxial deformation apparatus that will allow for fundamental studies of the behavior of earth materials at upper- to mid-crustal temperatures, pressures, and pore fluid conditions when subjected to fault zone stresses. Pressure vessels, a load frame, and hydrothermal control systems will be built in-house at Penn State using existing machine shop and electronics equipment and expertise. The system will be assembled by a dedicated technician within a two-year time period under the supervision of PI Chris Marone. Study of the properties of earth materials under realistic earthquake hypocentral conditions will greatly improve our understanding of earthquake fault rupture initiation processes. Relevant experimental data is sparse and successful development of this apparatus will add new empirical data to the field of rock mechanics. Experimental data that will be obtained with this device is highly complementary to planned in situ observation of the mechanical and physical environment experienced by San Andreas fault zone materials (i.e., the SAFOD drilling project).


Effective start/end date9/1/048/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $192,186.00


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