Creep rupture and permeability evolution in high temperature heat-treated sandstone containing pre-existing twin flaws

Sheng Qi Yang, Jin Zhou Tang, Derek Elsworth

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8 Scopus citations


Utilizing underground coal gasification cavities for carbon capture and sequestration provides a potentially economic and sustainable solution to a vexing environmental and energy problem. The thermal influence on creep properties and long-term permeability evolution around the underground gasification chamber is a key issue in UCG-CCS operation in containing fugitive emissions. We complete multi-step loading and unloading creep tests with permeability measurement at confining stresses of 30 MPa on pre-cracked sandstone specimens thermally heat-treated to 250, 500, 750 and 1000 °C. Observations indicate a critical threshold temperature of 500 °C required to initiate thermally-induced cracks with subsequent strength reduction occurring at 750 °C. Comparison of histories of creep, visco-elastic and visco-plastic strains highlight the existence of a strain jump at a certain deviatoric stress level—where the intervening rock bridge between the twin starter-cracks is eliminated. As the deviatoric stress level increases, the visco-plastic strains make up an important composition of total creep strain, especially for specimens pre-treated at higher temperatures, and the development of the visco-plastic strain leads to the time-dependent failure of the rock. The thermal pre-treatment produces thermal cracks with their closure resulting in increased instantaneous elastic strains and instantaneous plastic strains. With increasing stress ratio, the steady-state creep rates increase slowly before the failure stress ratio but rise suddenly over the final stress ratio to failure. However, the pre-treatment temperature has no clear and apparent influence on steady creep strain rates. Rock specimens subject to higher pre-treatment temperatures exhibit higher permeabilities. The pre-existing cracks close under compression with a coplanar shear crack propagating from the starter-cracks and ultimately linking these formerly separate cracks. In addition, it is clear that the specimens pre-treated at higher temperatures accommodate greater damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6362
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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