Recent studies have demonstrated that the combination of x-ray tomography during triaxial tests (“in-situ” tests) and 3D- volumetric Digital Image Correlation (3D-DIC) can provide important insight into the mechanical behaviour and deformation processes of granular materials such as sand. The application of these tools to investigate the mechanisms of failure in rocks is also of obvious interest. However, the relevant applied confining pressures for triaxial testing on rocks are higher than those on sands and therefore stronger pressure containment vessels, i.e., made of thick metal walls, are required. This makes in-situ x-ray imaging of rock deformation during triaxial tests a challenge. One possible solution to overcome this problem is to use neutrons, which should better penetrate the metal-walls of the pressure vessels. In this perspective, this work assesses the capability of neutron tomography with 3D-DIC to measure deformation fields in rock samples. Results from pre- and post-deformation neutron tomography of a Bentheim sandstone sample deformed ex-situ at 40 MPa show that clear images of the internal structure can be achieved and utilised for 3D-DIC analysis to reveal the details of the 3D strain field. From these results the character of the localised deformation in the study sample can thus be described. Furthermore, comparison with analyses based on equivalent x-ray tomography imaging of the same sample confirms the effectiveness of the method in relation to the more established x-ray based approach.
- Digital Image Correlation