A Directional Crack Damage Memory Effect in Sandstone Under True Triaxial Loading

John Browning (Corresponding Author), Philip G. Meredith, Christopher Stuart, Sophie Harland, David Healy, Thomas Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Crack damage leading to failure in rocks can be accumulated through cyclic stressing in the crust. However, the vast majority of experimental studies to investigate cyclic stresses apply conventional triaxial stress states (σ1 > σ2 = σ3), while in nature the state-of-stress in the crust is generally truly triaxial (σ1 > σ2 > σ3). Furthermore, the magnitude of these crustal stresses can vary over time and their orientations can also rotate over time, generating multiple crack populations and bulk anisotropic crack damage. We investigate the evolution of crack damage under both conventional and true triaxial stress conditions by sequentially and cyclically varying stresses in all three principal directions on cubic samples of dry sandstone using independently controlled stress paths. We have measured, simultaneously with stress, the bulk acoustic emission (AE) output, as a proxy for crack damage. We report a directionally controlled crack damage memory effect which has implications for the approach to failure in complex tectonic stress environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6878-6886
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Early online date2 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

We thank J.G. Van Munster for providing access to the true triaxial apparatus at KSEPL and for technical support during the experimental program. This work was partly funded by NERC awards NE/N002938/1, NE/N003063/1, and by a NERC Doctoral Studentship, which we gratefully acknowledge. Supporting data are included in an SI file; any additional data may be obtained from JB (email: j.browning@ucl.ac.uk).


  • triaxial
  • crack damage
  • Kaiser effect
  • stress rotation
  • stress memory


Dive into the research topics of 'A Directional Crack Damage Memory Effect in Sandstone Under True Triaxial Loading'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this