Abstract

Forced-oscillation stress-strain laboratory measurements are increasingly employed to obtain elastic and viscoelastic properties of rocks at seismic frequencies. Yet these measurements are time-consuming and expensive, due in part to the use of metal or semiconductor strain gauges, which need to be glued to the sample. Such gauges are fragile, have relatively low sensitivity, and measure very local strain only so the measurements can be affected by a slight misalignment of the system assembly and local heterogeneity of the rock. The emergence of fiber-optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology provides an alternative means of measuring strain. Strain measurements with DAS involve winding an optical fiber around the sample multiple times and connecting it to a DAS recording unit. Pilot experiments performed using this setup on a range of rocks and materials show good agreement with strain gauge measurements. Advantages of DAS over strain gauges include much higher strain sensitivity (down to 10−11) and signal-to-noise ratio (and hence, shorter time required for measurements), larger dynamic range, ability to measure average (rather than local) strain in the sample, and robustness at elevated temperatures. Although the pilot experiments demonstrate the potential of DAS for rock physics measurements, further research and improvement of the proposed methodology are required to obtain independent estimates of Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio and to port the system into a pressure vessel to obtain rock properties under in-situ conditions.

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