A portable triaxial cell for beamline imaging of rocks under triaxial state of stress

Amer Syed*, Yukie Tanino, Jacob M. Lamanna, David L. Jacobson, Daniel S. Hussey, Eli Baltic, Genoveva Burca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With recent developments in direct imaging techniques using x-ray and neutron imaging, there is an increasing need for efficient test setups to study the mechanical and/or transport behavior of porous rocks. Bespoke designs from commercial suppliers are expensive and often difficult to modify. This paper presents a novel design of a portable triaxial cell for imaging deformation (and a suggested adaptation to introduce fluid transport) through rocks/sand/soil under the triaxial states of stress representative of those encountered in the case of groundwater aquifers or subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. The design philosophy and the parameters are detailed so that interested researchers can use this experimental setup as a template to design and modify triaxial cells to suit their own experimental requirements. The design has been used in two imaging beamlines: Imaging and Material Science & Engineering (IMAT), ISIS facility, Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK, and BT2 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research, Gaithersburg, MD, USA. The mass attenuation coefficients extracted from the 2D radiograms of the triaxial cell were compared with those reported in the literature. Further suggestions for the adaptation of the triaxial cells for studying the mechanics of deformation and fracture in rocks are included.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095403
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number9
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Neutron imaging
  • Rock mechanics
  • Triaxial cell
  • X-ray imaging


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