Influence of cementation on the yield surface of rocks numerically determined from digital microstructures

Martin Lesueur, Manolis Veveakis, Hadrien Rattez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital Rock Physics has reached a level of maturity on the characterisation of primary properties that depend on the microstructure - such as porosity, permeability or elastic moduli - by numerically solving field equations on μCT scan images of rock. After small deformations or at depth though, most rocks eventually reach their limit of elasticity and the complementary plastic properties are needed to describe the full mechanical behaviour. Currently, determination of a rock's yield surface from its microstructure is often restricted to semi-analytical criteria derived by limit analysis or numerical simulations performed on idealised geometries. Such simplification lacks representativeness, particularly for processes that affect directly the pore-grain interface such as the cementation phenomenon, happening during diagenesis. Eventually, only direct numerical simulation of elasto-plasticity performed on digitalised microstructures can be used to assess the strength of different cemented materials and its evolution with the alteration of the microstructure. In this study, we provide a comprehensive parametric study on the impact of cementation on rock strength for real microstructures of cemented granular materials. Compared to most previous studies, the whole yield surface is determined numerically (using Finite Element Method) in order to assess the influence of cementation for different stress-paths. The previously known tendency of rock to strengthen with increasing cementation volume is verified. New results on the influence of cement property namely Young's modulus, friction and cohesion on the rock's yield surface are explored. The envelopes obtained are compared to the ones obtained by experimental data and existing models. The framework presented in this study showcases the wider possibility of determining any rock's or porous material's yield surface from its microstructure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103338
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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