Physical Properties of Minerals and Rocks

We focus on physical properties of minerals and rocks to better understand the underlying mechanisms and processes of the observed behavior from micro- to macroscale

Research Topics

Often geomaterial properties depend on cyclic loading of the materials. Hence, we investigate material properties under mechanical, electrical, and/or temperature (cyclic) loading. A detailed knowledge is indispensable to improve e.g. geotechnical installations (geothermal energy, gas storage in porous media or caverns, dam projects) and for tailored materials (e.g. ceramics, steel).

Our main focus lies on thermal and elastic properties of minerals and rocks.

Thermal transport properties are important physical properties to understand the driving forces in geodynamics. Furthermore, thermal transport properties are important for material science and the development of new technology. Nevertheless, only little is known about thermal transport properties of minerals and rocks. The focus of our experiments is the interrelation of elastic properties and thermal transport properties and their relation to crystal structure as well as improving experimental measurement procedures and data reduction routines in laser flash method.

The elastic properties are both, associable within the earth by geophysical exploration (dynamic elastic properties – observed as seismic wave velocities) and critical parameters for geotechnical applications. We focus on elastic properties under various load conditions, e.g. cyclic loading with frequencies from 0.01 to 100 Hz, thermal loading.

As physical properties may strongly vary with size, our experimental setups allow the determination of physical properties from mm- to m-scale

  • elastic and anelastic properties, from mm to meter
  • heat transport and thermal properties
  • permeability in large samples
  • magnetic properties
  • fracture and deformation behavior
  • electric properties

Besides minerals and rocks we use ceramics, glasses, artificial crystals, and various steels as sample materials.

Responsible Scientists

Frank R. Schilling

Helena Fuchs (PhD student)

Marcel Schulz (PhD student)