Influence of Super-Critical CO2 on the Strength and Fracture Behavior of Brine-Saturated Sandstone Specimens

  • Yan-Hua Huang
  • Sheng-Qi YangEmail author
  • Wen-Ping Li
  • Matthew R. Hall
Original Paper


The mechanical behavior of rock is one of the most important parameters to evaluate the potential for geological carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration (GCS); therefore, the study of rock strength evolution and fracture behavior after CO2 injection is helpful in the long-term stability and safety of GCS engineering. In this study, uniaxial compression, Brazilian splitting and fracture tests were carried out on sandstone specimens with brine saturation or brine-super critical CO2 (scCO2) co-saturation. The influences of brine salinity and scCO2 injection on the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), Brazilian tensile strength (BTS) and fracture toughness of sandstone were investigated. The experimental results showed that the UCS, BTS and fracture toughness of brine-saturated sandstone increased with increasing NaCl concentration but decreased after scCO2 injection. Furthermore, increments in the elastic modulus and average stiffness of brine-scCO2 co-saturated sandstone were observed relative to those under brine saturation. To investigate the change of mineral composition and micro structure during brine immersion and scCO2 injection, X-ray diffraction analysis, scanning electron microscopic observation and mercury intrusion porosimetry test were performed. Composition changes and dissolution of quartz were not observed, but many micro pores were created after scCO2 injection, thus increasing the porosity and reducing strength and fracture toughness. Finally, the mechanism of brine-scCO2 saturation in altering mechanical properties was discussed. These experimental results are expected to increase the understanding of the mechanical response of rock after scCO2 injection in deep saline aquifers.


Sandstone Strength Fracture toughness CO2 injection Saline aquifers 

List of Symbols


Diameter of specimen


Height of specimen


Salinity of NaCl solution


Axial strain


Circumferential strain


Axial stress


Confining pressure


Gas pressure


Peak axial stress


Elastic modulus


Axial displacement


Axial load


Tensile strength


Average stiffness


Fracture toughness


Peak load


Notch length


Radius of specimen


Distance between the two supporting cylindrical rollers


Non-dimensionless stress intensity factor for mode I loading


Thickness of specimen





This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2019QNA04). The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments, which have greatly improved this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Geomechanics and Deep Underground Engineering, School of Mechanics and Civil EngineeringChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Resources and GeosciencesChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.GeoEnergy Research Centre, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of Nottingham, University ParkNottinghamUK

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