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.