ABSTRACT

Simulation of elastic-wave propagation in rock requires knowledge of the elastic constants of the medium. The number of elastic constants required to describe a rock depends on the symmetry class. For example, isotropic symmetry requires only two elastic constants, whereas transversely isotropic symmetry requires five unique elastic constants. The off-diagonal elastic constant depends on a wave velocity measured along a nonsymmetry axis. The most difficult barrier when measuring these elastic constants is the ambiguity between the phase and group velocity in experimental measurements. Several methods to eliminate this difficulty have been previously proposed, but they typically require several samples, difficult machining, or complicated computational analysis. Another approach is to use the surface (Rayleigh) wave velocity to obtain the off-diagonal elastic constant. Rayleigh waves propagated along symmetry axes have phase and group velocities that are equal for materials with no frequency dispersion, thereby eliminating the ambiguity. Using a theoretical secular equation that relates the Rayleigh velocity to the elastic constants enable determination of the off-diagonal elastic constant. Laboratory measurements of the elastic constants in isotropic and anisotropic materials were made using ultrasonic transducers (central frequency of 1 MHz) for the Rayleigh-wave method and a wavefront-imaging method. The two methods indicated agreement within 1% and 3% for isotropic and transversely isotropic samples, respectively, demonstrating the ability of the Rayleigh-wave method to measure the off-diagonal elastic constant. The surface-wave approach eliminates the need for multiple samples, expensive computational calculations, and most importantly, it removes the ambiguity between the phase and group velocity in the measured data for materials with no frequency dispersion because all measurements are made along symmetry axes.

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