Onnagawa shale samples are deformed through the brittle-ductile transition by increasing the confining pressure. Brittle deformation is characterized by longitudinal splitting of the sample at 3% axial strain. A distributed conjugate fracture network characterizes the macroscopic deformation in the ductile field with strain hardening. The onset of transition from brittle to ductile deformation is between 4% and 5% axial strain with a single shear plane defined failure. Deformed samples are scanned in a commercially available X-ray CT machine to investigate the sensitivity of the fracture network to the choice of threshold voxel value. The primary voxel values of the deformed rock are reversed, and their density distribution is approximated by a normal distribution to extract the voxel value density distribution that fabricated the fracture network (residual). Successive thresholding of the residual histogram shows that the generated fracture network is highly sensitive to the choice of threshold. Post peak thresholding of the residual histogram generates voxel volumes of fractures alone and consecutive thresholding shows that the obtained volume segments of the fractures can interpret possible nucleation, growth, and coalescence within the damaged zone. Results further show similarity to previous 4D tomographic strain localization investigations and damage size distributions by acoustic emission studies. Therefore, despite the postmortem nature of the investigation, the new technique opens possibilities to investigate the possible evolution of fracture properties under elevated confining pressures and in the absence of high energy synchrotron facilities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science