Rheological Behaviour and Model for Porous Rocks Under Air-Dried and Water-Saturated Conditions

S. Okubo*, K. Fukui , X. Gao
Department of Systems Innovation, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

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© 2008 Okubo et. al

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Systems Innovation, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; E-mail:


Most rocks exhibit viscoelastic properties or time-dependent behavior during deformation. For example, peak strength and Young's modulus increase with loading rate in uniaxial compression tests. In the creep test, strain increases over time even though stress is maintained at a predetermined value. Such viscoelastic behavior is especially notable in porous rocks such as tuff and weathered rocks. In this study, we first present a brief review of the viscoelastic properties of porous rocks, and then propose a new rheological model based on constitutive equations previously proposed by the authors. The model consists of a spring and a dashpot. We assume that the constitutive equation described in a previous study can be applied to the spring. The viscosity of the dashpot is low prior to loading, and increases gradually with progressive loading. In creep testing at low stress levels, strain of the dashpot corresponds to creep strain because the spring constant does not decrease significantly at low stress levels. Experimental analysis of muddy sandstone, Oya tuff, Tage tuff and Kawazu tuff is compared with theoretical predictions. The measured and theoretical stress-strain curves are in good agreement. The increase in peak strength and Young's modulus with loading rate is well simulated by the model. The most important result of this study is that even at low stress conditions, strain of the dashpot is considerably larger than considered in previous studies. Our model provides a sound simulation of the difference in Young's moduli between air-dried and water-saturated conditions, where the difference is assumed to reflect the partitioning of strain into the dashpot. In water-saturated conditions, strain of the dashpot increases more rapidly than in air-dried conditions, and Young's modulus is consequently relatively small.