School of GeoSciences

Rock Physics and Rock Deformation

The Rock Physics laboratory is operated as a grant-supported laboratory with access via the collaborative research pathway, with experimental costs covered as appropriate.

Rock Physics

The rock physics laboratory has been newly rejuvenated, with an updated triaxial deformation rig (built in house) and acoustic emission equipment (Applied Seismology Richter data acquisition combined with trigger and hit count systems and pulser receivers). The laboratory is dedicated to studies of rock mechanics, including coupled physical and chemical processes and damage mechanics and is linked closely with the Experimental X-ray Microtomography laboratory.

The Rock Physics Big Rig (housed in the School of Engineering) is a triaxial press capable of handling 100mm OD samples and applying loads of up to 2MN and confining conditions up to 70MPa. The rig is currently being updated to accept a new control system and a new large sample True Triaxial cell.

Access is via discussion with Dr Ian Butler, Prof Ian Main and Dr Andy Bell.


Kay, MA, Main, I & Ngwenya, B 2006, 'Fault gouge diagenesis at shallow burial depth: Solution-precipitation reactions in well-sorted and poorly sorted powders of crushed sandstone' Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol 243, pp. 607-614.

Odling, N, Meredith, P, Main, I & Ngwenya, B 2007, 'Laboratory measurement of hydrodynamic saline dispersion within a micro-fracture network induced in granite' Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol 260, pp. 407-418.

Song, I, Elphick, SC, Main, IG, Ngwenya, BT, Odling, NW & Smyth, NF 2004, 'One-dimensional fluid diffusion induced by constant-rate flow injection: Theoretical analysis and application to the determination of fluid permeability and specific storage of a cored rock sample' Journal of Geophysical Research, vol 109, no. B5, B05207, pp. 1-13.

Ngwenya, BT, Kwon, O, Elphick, SC & Main, IG 2003, 'Permeability evolution during progressive development of deformation bands in porous sandstones' Journal of Geophysical Research, vol 108, no. B7, ECV 6, pp. 1-14


Dr Ian Butler

Research Fellow in Experimental Geosciences

Contact details



Grant Institute,
The King's Buildings,
James Hutton Road,

Room: 105
Post Code