Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Thermal Expansion of Rock Using Dilatometer
Information concerning the thermal expansion characteristics of rocks is important in the design of any underground excavation where the surrounding rock may be heated. Thermal strain causes thermal stresses which ultimately affect excavation stability. Examples of applications where rock thermal strain is important include: nuclear waste repositories, underground power stations, compressed air energy storage facilities, and geothermal energy facilities.
The coefficient of thermal expansion or “alpha” or rock is known to vary as the temperature changes. These methods provide continuous thermal strain values as a function of temperature, and therefore provide information on how alpha changes with temperature.
Rocks are also often anisotropic, thus displaying different thermal strains depending on the orientation of strain measurement. These methods allow for measuring strain in one direction only. If anisotropy is expected, samples with different orientations should be prepared and tested.
Care should be exercised in the interpretation of thermal strain data of rocks with significant moisture content. Under certain temperature and pressure conditions, steam may be produced in the pore space. Steam may cause errors because of microcrack production or changes in the pore pressure. The phase change from water to steam in the pore space can result in several phenomena which complicate data analysis, as follows:
Evolved steam may change the pore pressure and thus the effective stress in the rock, resulting in anomalous strain readings.
Losing all the moisture may dehydrate clays in the pore space and thus change expansion characteristics, especially in layered rocks.
The researcher using this standard must use best judgment as to how to make the thermal expansion measurement so that it accurately represents the conditions in the field.
Method II is amenable to confined thermal strain determinations. Confined tests may be most appropriate when:
Pore pressure must be imposed in the pore space to maintain the liquid phase of water through the desired temperature range.
The thermal strain of the rock is sensitive to confining stress.
The sample is fragile or friable, or both, and cannot be machined into the shapes required for Method I.
1.1 These test methods cover the laboratory measurement of the linear (one-dimensional) thermal expansion of rocks using a dilatometer.
1.2 These test methods are applicable between temperatures of 25°C to 300°C. Both bench top and confined measurement techniques are presented. Rocks of varying moisture content can be tested.
1.3 For satisfactory results in conformance with these test methods, the principles governing the size, construction, and use of the apparatus described in these methods should be followed. If the results are to be reported as having been obtained by this method, then all pertinent requirements prescribed in this method shall be met.
1.4 These test methods do not establish details of construction and procedure to cover all test situations that might offer difficulties to a person without technical knowledge concerning the theory of heat flow, temperature measurement, and general testing practices. Standardization of these test methods does not reduce the need for such technical knowledge. It is recognized also that it would be unwise, because of the standardization of this method, to resist in any way the further development of improved or new methods or procedures by research workers.
1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to inch-pound units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.
1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
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