Ion-species in pore fluids with opposite effects on limestone fracturing

A. Pluymakers*, A. Ougier-Simonin, A. Barnhoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


At ten percent of sedimentary rocks, limestones are common geo-energy reservoirs. Being highly soluble, limestones are prone to fluid-assisted deformation and their mechanical behaviour likely susceptible to fluid chemistry. In this study, we saturated limestone samples with 0.4 M MgSO4 or 0.4 M Na2SO4 CaCO3-saturated solutions (naturally present in many reservoirs) or a reference CaCO3-saturated solution for 1, 50 or 200 days prior to mechanical testing. Triaxial deformation tests were then performed at 7, 30, and 70 MPa of confining pressure room temperature, under drained conditions. Our results show that exposure to one different cation impacts the strength of this rock (up to [Formula presented] of dry rock strength) and its failure dynamics, associated with different microstructural damage distribution. A 200 day exposure to MgSO4 promotes strengthening whilst similar exposure to Na2SO4 leads to weakening. We posit that these strength changes may be related to changes in surface charges on the mineral surfaces. More data on fluid–rock interaction will be key to fully understand fracture propagation in natural carbonate formations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100233
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalGeomechanics for Energy and the Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Carbonate
  • Fluid–rock interaction
  • MgSO
  • NaSO
  • Rock mechanics
  • Triaxial testing


Dive into the research topics of 'Ion-species in pore fluids with opposite effects on limestone fracturing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this