Thermal effect on the geo-engineering characteristics of a rock salt

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Özcan N.

PloS one, vol.18, no.3, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283435
  • Journal Name: PloS one
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Animal Behavior Abstracts, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Psycinfo, zbMATH, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Rock salt caverns are considered one of the best hosts to store oil, natural gas, radioactive and toxic wastes due to their low permeability, self-healing characteristics and wide distribution on the Earth. Stored nuclear waste in rock salts will radiate for many years. Therefore, the thermal energy and also temperature in the host environment will increase depending on time. In this study, P-wave velocity (Vp), Brazilian tensile strength (σt), uniaxial compression strength (σc) of Çankırı rock salt were investigated under different temperatures ranging from 20°C to 250°C since the temperature is a factor that causes changes in some physical and geo-mechanical properties of rocks. The acoustic emission technique was utilized during uniaxial compression strength tests, to monitor the crack accumulation. Additionally, X-ray micro-computed tomography technique was employed to observe the microstructure and determine the porosity of rock salt samples depending on the temperature. The Vp and the σt of Çankırı rock salt decrease with increasing temperatures of samples whereas the σc increases. The ductility of rock salt tends to increase with augmented temperature and the axial strain at the ultimate stress level is 2.96% at 20°C whereas it reaches up to 6.29% at 250°C. The AE activity of rock salt generates at the early stages of loading and AE count prominently increases with the increasing temperature of samples. Therefore, the stress levels of crack initiation (σi) and crack damage (σcd) thresholds were reached earlier than the previous one with each temperature increment. According to X-ray micro-CT images of rock salts, the number of cracks increased markedly in thermally treated rock salt samples and therewith the porosity increases from 1.12% to 2.73% with an increase in temperature from 50°C to 250°C.