Heitt Mjölnir: a heated miniature triaxial apparatus for 4D synchrotron microtomography

Damien Freitas, Ian B. Butler, Stephen c. Elphick, James Gilgannon, Roberto Rizzo, Oliver Plümper, John Wheeler, Christian m. Schlepütz, Federica Marone, Florian Fusseis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Third- and fourth-generation synchrotron light sources with high fluxes and beam energies enable the use of innovative X-ray translucent experimental apparatus. These experimental devices access geologically relevant conditions whilst enabling in situ characterization using the spatial and temporal resolutions accessible at imaging beamlines. Here, Heitt Mjölnir is introduced, a heated miniature triaxial rig based on the design of Mjölnir, but covering a wider temperature range and larger sample volume at similar pressure capacities. This device is designed to investigate coupled thermal, chemical, hydraulic and mechanical processes from grain to centimetre scales using cylindrical samples of 10 mm × 20 mm (diameter × length). Heitt Mjölnir can simultaneously reach confining (hydraulic) pressures of 30 MPa and 500 MPa of axial stress with independently controlled sample pore fluid pressure < 30 MPa. This internally heated apparatus operates to temperatures up to 573 K with a minimal vertical thermal gradient in the sample of <0.3 K mm−1. This new apparatus has been deployed in operando studies at the TOMCAT (Swiss Light Source), I12 JEEP (Diamond Light Source) and PSICHÉ (Synchrotron SOLEIL) beamlines for 4D X-ray microtomography with scan intervals of a few minutes. Heitt Mjölnir is portable and modular, allowing a wide range of 4D characterizations of low-grade metamorphism and deformational processes. It enables spatially and temporally resolved fluid–rock interaction studies at conditions of crustal reservoirs and is suitable for characterization of material properties in geothermal, carbonation or subsurface gas storage applications. Technical drawings and an operation guide are included in this publication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


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