CO2-induced mechanical behaviour of Hawkesbury sandstone in the Gosford basin: An experimental study

Tharaka Dilanka Rathnaweera, Ranjith Pathegama Gamage, Mandadige Samintha Anne Perera, Asadul Haque, Aref Lashin, Nassir SN Al Arifi, Dornadula Chandrasekharam, Shengqi Yang, Tao Xu, Shu Han Wang, Ergul Yasar

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestered in saline aquifers undergoes a variety of chemically-coupled mechanical effects, which may cause CO2-induced mechanical changes and time-dependent reservoir deformation. This paper investigates the mineralogical and microstructural changes that occur in reservoir rocks following injection of CO2 in deep saline aquifers and the manner in which these changes influence the mechanical properties of the reservoir rocks. In this study, cylindrical sandstone specimens, 38mm in diameter and 76mm high, obtained from the Gosford basin, were used to perform a series of unconfined compressive strength (UCS) tests. Different saturation conditions: dry, water- and brine-saturated sandstone samples with and without scCO2 (super-critical carbon dioxide) injection, were considered in the study to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of scCO2 injection during the CO2 sequestration process on saline aquifer mechanical properties.An acoustic emission (AE) system was employed to identify the stress threshold values of crack closure, crack initiation and crack damage for each testing condition during the whole deformation process of the specimens. Finally, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses were performed to evaluate the chemical and mineralogical changes that occur in reservoir rocks during CO2 injection. From the test results, it is clear that the CO2-saturated samples possessed a lower peak strength compared to non-CO2 saturated samples. According to SEM, XRD and XRF analyses, considerable quartz mineral corrosion and dissolution of calcite and siderite were observed during the interactions of the CO2/water/rock and CO2/brine/rock systems, which implies that mineralogical and geochemical rock alterations affect rock mechanical properties by accelerating the collapse mechanisms of the pore matrix. AE results also reveal the weakening effect of rock pore structure with CO2 injection, which suggests a significant effect of CO2 on failure mechanisms of the reservoir rock, with CO2 saturation showing a significant influence on crack initiation and crack damage stages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123 - 137
Number of pages15
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A: Structural Materials: Properties, Microstructure and Processing
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2015


  • CO2 sequestration
  • Saline aquifers
  • Strength
  • Crack formation
  • Microstructure
  • CO2 storage in Australia

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