UCL Earth Sciences


Rock Physics Laboratory

Laboratory Manager: Prof. Nicolas Brantut

A range of activities are performed in this laboratory. The area houses a variety of apparatus for the Rock & Ice Physics research group.  Graduate and undergraduate experimental projects are also performed in this laboratory. 

Rock Fluids

Triaxial Rock Physics Ensemble

Our servo-controlled triaxial rock deformation and rock physics ensemble can operate at confining pressures to 400 MPa and temperatures to 400ºC. It incorporates an independent 400 MPa pore fluid pressure

intensifier/porosimeter/permeameter, and load is applied through a 1500 kN servo-controlled actuator. Rock samples (40mm in diameter by 100mm long) are enclosed in engineered polymer jackets with 12 transducer mounting points. This allows real-time monitoring of changes in elastic wave velocities (both P and S), electrical conductivity and electrical potential, and 3D location of acoustic emission events generated during crack propagation.

The ensemble is designed to allow us to simulate conditions throughout the seismogenic crust (upper 15 km or so) on relatively large volume samples. 

The servo-control additionally allows us to conduct experiments over a range of constant strain rates or at controlled constant stress (for brittle creep or static fatigue tests).

Servo-controlled 200 KN universal load frame

Our 200 kN universal load frame is equipped with a large volume environmental chamber to allow experiments to be conducted on rock or ice samples at temperatures from +400ºC to -200ºC.

It is also equipped with a range of fixtures for fracture mechanics experiments on rock and ice, including short rod, 3- and 4-point bend, compact tension and double torsion tests.