Simulation of Non-linear Fault-Fracture Processes and the Stress-Strain History in the Brittle Continental Crust

Theme: Solid Earth Dynamics

Main Supervisor:

Jurgen Adam

Earth Sciences, RHUL

Project Description:

Field studies and lab-based material tests demonstrate that complex deformation structures in brittle rocks emerge from their non-linear deformation behaviour due to their strain-dependent material strength. Mechanical models with a Coulomb rheology and numerical continuum FE techniques are limited in simulating stress and strain in brittle rocks beyond structural scale.

However, physical models of dynamic fault fracture processes are essential for our understanding of brittle deformation and related applied problems. Analogue material development and 4D scaled physical experiments with innovative high resolution 3D deformation monitoring can bridge the gap between structural- and fracture-scale process simulation.

The project will develop elastic-plastic analogue materials for coupled fault-fracture simulations in physical experiments using material design, material testing and optical deformation monitoring capable to simulate fault-fracture formation on all relevant scales.

Policy Impact of Research:

Improved simulation techniques and analogue materials will improve understanding of non-linear material behaviour and brittle deformation mechanism which is of major importance for the analysis and simulation of landslides and repetitive earthquakes, and for applied fault-fracture analysis.


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