A portable triaxial cell for beamline imaging of rocks under triaxial state of stress

Amer Syed* (Corresponding Author), Yukie Tanino, Jacob M. LaManna, David L. Jacobson, Daniel S. Hussey, Eli Baltic, Genoveva Burca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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With recent developments in direct imaging techniques using x-ray and neutron imaging, there is an increasing need for an efficient design of a test setup to study mechanical and/or the transport behaviour of porous rocks. Bespoke design from commercial suppliers are expensive and often difficult to modify. This paper presents a novel design of a portable triaxial cell for imaging deformation (and suggestion for adaptation for introducing fluid transport) through rocks/sand/soil under triaxial state of stress representative of those encountered in case of ground water aquifers or subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. The design philosophy and the parameters are detailed so that interested researchers can use this experimental set up as a template to design and modify the triaxial cell to suit their own experimental requirements. The design has been used on two imaging beamlines- IMAT, ISIS facility, Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK and BT2 of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research, Gaithersburg, MD, USA. The mass attenuation coefficients extracted from the 2D radiograms of the triaxial cell were compared with those reported in the literature. Further suggestions for the adaptation of triaxial cell for studying mechanics of deformation and fracture in rocks are included.
Original languageEnglish
Article number095403
Number of pages13
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Early online date3 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

The development of the cell was supported by the Research and Teaching Excellence Fund of the School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen. Experiments at BT2, NCNR were supported by UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant number EP/N021665/1, NIST and the Physical Measurement Laboratory. Experiments at IMAT were supported by the UK STFC, Experiment number: 1910331


  • neutron imaging
  • x-ray imaging
  • rock mechanics
  • triaxial cell


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