Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1353–1375 | Cite as

Modeling \(\hbox {CO}_2\)-Induced Alterations in Mt. Simon Sandstone via Nanomechanics

  • Ange-Therese AkonoEmail author
  • Pooyan Kabir
  • Zhuofan Shi
  • Samantha Fuchs
  • Theodore T. Tsotsis
  • Kristian Jessen
  • Charles J. Werth
Original Paper


The objective of this work is to formulate a novel and physics-based nanomechanics framework to connect geochemical reactions in host rock to the resulting morphological changes at the microscopic lengthscale and to the resulting geomechanical changes at the macroscopic lengthscale. The key idea is to monitor the fraction of minerals based on their mechanical signature. We illustrate this procedure on the Mt. Simon sandstone from the Illinois Basin. To this end, various acidic fluid systems were applied to Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. The chemistry, morphology, microstructure, and mechanical characteristics were investigated across multiple lengthscales. Grid indentation was carried out with a total of 6900 individual indentation tests performed on 24 specimens. A good agreement was observed between the composition computed using statistical nanoindentation and measurements employing independent methods such as scanning electron microscopy, electron-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analyses, mercury intrusion porosimetry, flow perporometry, and helium pycnometry. An increase in porosity and a decrease in K-feldspar content were observed following the incubation in \(\hbox {CO}_2\)-saturated brine, suggesting dissolution reactions involving feldspar. Thus, a rigorous methodology is presented to connect geochemical reactions and related compositional changes at the nano- and microscopic scales to alterations of the constitutive behavior at the macroscopic level.


Geochemical reactions Induced seismicity Geological carbon sequestration Sandstone Multiscale modeling Statistical nanoindentation 



This work was supported as part of the Center for Geologic Storage of CO2, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award # DE-SC0C12504. The authors would like to thank the Illinois State Geological Survey for providing the Mt. Simon sandstone specimens tested and analyzed in this investigation. The work was carried out in part in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Research Facilities, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical Engineering and Material ScienceUniversity of Southern California-Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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