Title page for ETD etd-05172007-111927

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Stevens, Dennis Frederick
Author's Email Address dfs84@vt.edu
URN etd-05172007-111927
Title Stress Redistribution in Berea Sandstone Samples Using Acoustic Emission Tomography in the Laboratory
Degree Master of Science
Department Mining and Minerals Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Westman, Erik Christian Committee Chair
Karfakis, Mario G. Committee Member
Karmis, Michael E. Committee Member
  • Acoustic Emission
  • Velocity Tomography
  • Berea Sandstone
Date of Defense 2007-05-02
Availability unrestricted
Velocity tomography is a noninvasive technique that can image the interior of a rock structure. To apply tomography to rock specimens, a propagation wave, which acts as a probe, is used. The propagation wave propagates from a source until it reaches a sensor on the surface of the rock specimen. Tomograms can then be generated from the velocity distribution within the rock structure. Areas of higher velocity are typically representative of higher stress concentrations, whereas areas of low velocity can be areas of fracturing. The variation of velocity tomography described in this thesis uses acoustic emissions as sources for the propagation wave. Acoustic emission sources provide advantages over mechanical sources, since the acoustic emission source is generated by the rock as a result of deformation and fracturing.

Velocity tomography of rock structures in the field has numerous applications and advantages. Velocity tomography can be used to monitor rock structures surrounding tunnels and underground openings such as mines. To monitor the rock structure, velocity tomography is used to determine areas of higher stress concentration that may be precursors to rock failure. However, velocity tomography must first be used in a laboratory environment to determine failure in rock samples before being applied to the field.

The research presented includes the unconfined compression strength testing of 19 Berea sandstone samples. These samples were loaded to failure and during the experiment the acoustic emission events within the samples were monitored using a commercial acquisition system manufactured by Engineering Seismology Group (ESG) Canada. Source location software, also produced by ESG, was used for the location of the acoustic emission events. Ray inversions were performed on the data from the experiments to generate tomograms. The tomograms generated display the p-wave velocity distribution imaged within the Berea sandstone samples with the ultimate goal of being able to predict rock failure.

Based on the experiments discussed in this thesis it can be inferred that velocity tomography is a useful tool for imaging the inside of the Berea sandstone samples. Precursors of rock failure could not be determined in this early stage of research. However, the tomograms do image the p-wave velocity distribution and do show a gradual progression of the p-wave velocity from the initial velocity model to higher velocities. Results of these 19 experiments do provide reasonable confidence in the method and warrant pursuit of further research to refine and improve this method of monitoring velocity tomography.

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