A novel and versatile apparatus for brittle rock deformation

Cristiano Collettini, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Brett Carpenter, Piergiorgio Scarlato, Telemaco Tesei, Silvio Mollo, Fabio Trippetta, Chris Marone, Gianni Romeo, Lauro Chiaraluce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


This paper describes a new biaxial rock deformation apparatus within a pressure vessel, consisting of a stainless steel vessel with an internal diameter of 40cm and six main access ports for electronics (~100 pins), pore fluids (three lines), and confining oil. The apparatus has to ability to work on large rock samples, up to 20×20cm2, with horizontal and vertical forces up to 1.5MN. The maximum confining pressure of the vessel is 70MPa, and fluid flow properties and permeability of large-samples can be tested using up to 8L of fluids that can be pressurized up to 30MPa. Sliding velocity during experiments is in the range 0.1[U+F0B5]m/s - 1.0cm/s. The machine stiffness is 0.91kN/μm and 1.3kN/μm for the vertical and horizontal axes, respectively. Measurements on friction, velocity dependence of friction and healing properties of reference material like granite and talc replicate the values presented in the literature. Triaxial stress state tests with controlled confining and pore fluid pressure, and fluid flow through the samples have been performed successfully. The machine is extremely versatile, as it works as a uniaxial, triaxial or true-triaxial apparatus, on rock samples with dimensions ranging from several to tens of centimetres. Due to the broad number of potential operating conditions, we decided to name the machine BRAVA: Brittle Rock deformAtion Versatile Apparatus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-123
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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