Characterizing the nonlinear interaction of S- and P-waves in a rock sample

Malcolm, Alison and Gallot, Thomas and Szabo, Thomas and Brown, Stephen and Burns, Dan and Fehler, Mike (2015) Characterizing the nonlinear interaction of S- and P-waves in a rock sample. Journal of Applied Physics, 117 (3). ISSN 0021-8979

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The nonlinear elastic response of rocks is known to be caused by the rocks' microstructure, particularly cracks and fluids. This paper presents a method for characterizing the nonlinearity of rocks in a laboratory scale experiment with a unique configuration. This configuration has been designed to open up the possibility of using the nonlinear characterization of rocks as an imaging tool in the field. In our experiment, we study the nonlinear interaction of two traveling waves: a low-amplitude 500 kHz P-wave probe and a high-amplitude 50 kHz S-wave pump in a room-dry 15 × 15 × 3 cm slab of Berea sandstone. Changes in the arrival time of the P-wave probe as it passes through the perturbation created by the traveling S-wave pump were recorded. Waveforms were time gated to simulate a semi-infinite medium. The shear wave phase relative to the P-wave probe signal was varied with resultant changes in the P-wave probe arrival time of up to 100 ns, corresponding to a change in elastic properties of 0.2%. In order to estimate the strain in our sample, we also measured the particle velocity at the sample surface to scale a finite difference linear elastic simulation to estimate the complex strain field in the sample, on the order of 10−6, induced by the S-wave pump. We derived a fourth order elastic model to relate the changes in elasticity to the pump strain components. We recover quadratic and cubic nonlinear parameters: β̃=−872 and δ̃=−1.1×10,000,000,000 respectively, at room-temperature and when particle motions of the pump and probe waves are aligned. Temperature fluctuations are correlated to changes in the recovered values of β̃ and δ̃, and we find that the nonlinear parameter changes when the particle motions are orthogonal. No evidence of slow dynamics was seen in our measurements. The same experimental configuration, when applied to Lucite and aluminum, produced no measurable nonlinear effects. In summary, a method of selectively determining the local nonlinear characteristics of rock quantitatively has been demonstrated using traveling sound waves.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 12782
Keywords: Transducers, Elastic moduli, Strain measurement, Seismic waves, Particle velocity
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Earth Sciences
Date: January 2015
Date Type: Publication
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