Rock Triaxial Tests: Global Deformation vs Local Strain Measurements—Implications

Andika Perbawa, Eduardo Gramajo, Thomas Finkbeiner, Carlos Santamarina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Accurate stress–strain measurements in triaxial tests are critical to compute reliable mechanical parameters. We focus on compliance at the interfaces between the specimen and endcaps, and test specimens under various triaxial conditions using different instrumentation protocols. The tested materials include aluminum, Eagle Ford shale, Berea sandstone, and Jubaila carbonate. Results obtained following common practice reveal that surface roughness at the specimen-endcap interfaces leads to marked seating effects, affects all cap-to-cap based measurements and hinders ultrasonic energy transmission. In particular, cap-to-cap deformation measurements accentuate hysteretic behavior, magnify biases caused by bending and tilting (triggered by uneven surfaces and misalignment), and affect the estimation of all rock parameters, from stiffness to Biot’s α-parameter. Higher confining pressure diminishes seating effects. Local measurements using specimen-bonded strain gauges are preferred (Note: mounting strain gauges on sleeves is ill-advised). We confirm that elastic moduli derived from wave propagation measurements are higher than quasi-static moduli determined from local strain measurements using specimen-bonded strain gauges, probably due to the lower strain level in wave propagation and preferential high-velocity travel path for first arrivals.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
StatePublished - Apr 5 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-04-14
Acknowledgements: Support provided by the KAUST Endowment at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology for this research. Gabrielle E. Abelskamp edited the manuscript.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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