Pressure solution creep of random packs of spheres
Author(s)Bernabe, Yves; Evans, James Brian
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We performed numerical calculations of compaction in aggregates of spherical grains, using Lehner and Leroy's (2004, hereinafter LL) constitutive model of pressure solution at grain contacts. That model is founded on a local definition of the thermodynamic driving force and leads to a fully coupled formulation of elastic deformation, dissolution, and diffusive transport along the grain boundaries. The initial geometry of the aggregate was generated by random packing of spheres with a small standard deviation of the diameters. During the simulations, isostatic loading was applied. The elastic displacements at the contacts were calculated according to Digby's (1981) nonlinear contact force model, and deformation by dissolution was evaluated using the LL formulation. The aggregate strain and porosity were tracked as a function of time for fixed temperature, applied effective pressure, and grain size. We also monitored values of the average and standard deviation of total load at each contact, the coordination number for packing, and the statistics of the contact dimensions. Because the simulations explicitly exclude processes such as fracturing, plastic flow, and transport owing to surface curvature, they can be used to test the influence of relative changes in the kinetics of dissolution and diffusion processes caused by contact growth and packing rearrangements. We found that the simulated strain data could be empirically fitted by two successive power laws of the form, εx ∝ tξ, where ξ was equal to 1 at very early times, but dropped to as low as 0.3 at longer times. The apparent sensitivity of strain rate to stress found in the simulations was much lower than predicted from constitutive laws that assume a single dominant process driven by average macroscopic loads. Likewise, the apparent activation enthalpy obtained from the simulated data was intermediate between that assumed for dissolution and diffusion, and, further, tended to decrease with time. These results are similar to the experimental observations of Visser et al.'s (2012), who used an aggregate geometry and physical conditions closely resembling the present numerical simulations.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Bernabé, Y., and B. Evans. “Pressure Solution Creep of Random Packs of Spheres: PRESSURE SOLUTION OF PACKS OF SPHERES.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 119.5 (2014): 4202–4218.
Final published version