Mjölnir: A miniature triaxial rock deformation apparatus for 4D synchrotron X-ray microtomography

Ian Butler*, Florian Fusseis, Alexis Cartwright-Taylor, Michael Flynn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


An X-ray transparent experimental triaxial rock deformation apparatus, here named 'Mjölnir', enables investigations of brittle-style rock deformation and failure, as well as coupled thermal, chemical and mechanical processes relevant to a range of Earth subsurface environments. Designed to operate with cylindrical samples up to 3.2 mm outside-diameter and up to 10 mm length, Mjölnir can attain up to 50 MPa confining pressure and in excess of 600 MPa axial load. The addition of heaters extends the experimental range to temperatures up to 140°C. Deployment of Mjolnir on synchrotron beamlines indicates that full 3D datasets may be acquired in a few seconds to a few minutes, meaning full 4D investigations of deformation processes can be undertaken. Mjölnir is constructed from readily available materials and components and complete technical drawings are included in the supporting information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1687
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Issue numberPart 6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • experimental geoscience
  • rock deformation
  • synchrotron X-ray microtomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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