Laboratoire de Déformation des Roches


The Rock Deformation Laboratory is located at the Strasbourg Institute of Earth and Environment (ITES) at the University of Strasbourg. Our laboratory, part of the Experimental Geophysics team, houses a variety of purpose-built equipment designed to investigate the deformation behaviour and fluid flow properties of the Earth's crust.

Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ENGEES, Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg, UMR 7063, 5 rue René Descartes, Strasbourg F-67084, France

The team

The LDR consists of three permanent academic members of staff and a research engineer:

Current Ph.D students and post-docs:

Recent former Ph.D students and post-docs:



Using our vacuum setup, we can determine double and triple weight water porosity. We can also measure gas porosity via helium pycnometry (AccuPyc II 1340 Pycnometer).


We have a number of custom-built permeameters. We are able to measure very high (10-11 m2) to very low (10-22 m2) permeabilities. We can measure permeability at different confining pressures and temperatures, using different pore fluids (gas and liquid), and using different methods (steady-state and pulse decay).

High-temperature furnaces

Our high temperature furnaces operate at temperatures up to 1000 °C and can heat/cool rocks under controlled conditions (e.g., 1 °C/min).

Elastic wave velocities

Our benchtop acoustic wave velocity setup is designed to measure the P- and S- wave velocities of samples. Samples can be measured dry or liquid-saturated. We can also measure attenuation.

Thermal properties

We can measure the thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and specific heat capacity of samples using our Hot Disk TPS 500 Thermal Constants Analyser.

Specific surface area

Our BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) absorption apparatus measures the specific surface area of samples by monitoring the physical adsorption of nitrogen or krypton gas molecules onto their solid inner surface.

Electrical conductivity

We have several setups that can measure the electrical conductivity of samples.

Uniaxial compressive strength

Our servo-controlled uniaxial deformation apparatus can deform rock samples under a variety of loading (constant strain rate, constant stress) and environmental (dry and wet) conditions up to axial stresses of 160 MPa (for the standard sample size of 20 mm diameter). We routinely measure stress, axial strain, and the output of acoustic emission energy during experimentation. However, the setup can be modified to measure elastic wave velocities and radial strain during deformation. A second uniaxial deformation rig has been customised so as to deform samples at high temperatures (< 1000 °C). It also has been outfitted with sensors to monitor acoustic emissions during deformation/heating with a low noise threshold, and elastic wave velocity measurements during deformation/heating.

Triaxial deformation

Our conventional servo-controlled triaxial deformation apparatus is capable of reaching confining and pore fluid pressures of 200 MPa, and differential stresses up to 400 MPa. Rock samples (20 mm in diameter by 40 mm in length) can be deformed under a variety of different loading conditions (hydrostatic, constant strain rate, constant stress) whilst continuously monitoring stress, axial strain, pore volume change, the output of acoustic emission energy, and permeability. Our high-temperature/high-pressure triaxial deformation rig can deform materials at up to 350 MPa at temperatures of a couple of hundred degrees.

Sample prepration

We have facilities to prepare samples for laboratory testing. We have a large saw to cut large blocks of rock, a pillar drill to core cylindrical samples, trim saws, and a grinder to ensure sample endface parallelism.

Research opportunities

We are always interested in collaborators, and those interested in studying for a Ph.D or applying for a European or International Research Fellowship in our laboratory. Don't hesitate to contact us!

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