Mechanical Properties of Rocks: Pore Pressure and Scale Effects

Abstract : Pore pressure plays a major role when considering rocks mechanical properties. In that field, the concept of effective pressure is a key one to deal with fluids mechanical effects. However, its frequent use has been the source of frequent confusing statements. Because of the various meanings which have been attached to that concept, an attempt is made in this paper to clarify it and examine the validity of its various uses relative to rock mechanical behaviour or rock properties. At a macroscopic scale, thermodynamics provides a powerful tool to investigate this. Reversible or irreversible thermodynamics provide general relationships of great interest. But because real rocks are non homogeneous systems, a microscopic approach is also required in order to analyze the mechanical properties from a description of the small scale processes. The microscopic approach is complementary of the macroscopic thermodynamic one as it leads to the calculation of the effective properties of the medium. In this last approach, effective medium theory is a powerful tool. The effective properties as derived from the microscale can be nicely combined to thermodynamic relations to interpret pore fluid pressure effects and scale effects. The example of elastic properties of porous rocks is more specifically emphasized to illustrate this because of both its intrinsic interest and importance as far as applications are concerned.
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Y. Gueguen, M. Bouteca. Mechanical Properties of Rocks: Pore Pressure and Scale Effects. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 1999, 54 (6), pp.703-714. ⟨10.2516/ogst:1999060⟩. ⟨hal-02075841⟩

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