Predicting failure: Acoustic emission of berlinite under compression

Guillaume F. Nataf, Pedro O. Castillo-Villa, Pathikumar Sellappan, Waltraud M. Kriven, Eduard Vives, Antoni Planes, Ekhard K.H. Salje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acoustic emission has been measured and statistical characteristics analyzed during the stress-induced collapse of porous berlinite, AlPO 4, containing up to 50 vol% porosity. Stress collapse occurs in a series of individual events (avalanches), and each avalanche leads to a jerk in sample compression with corresponding acoustic emission (AE) signals. The distribution of AE avalanche energies can be approximately described by a power law over a large stress interval. We observed several collapse mechanisms whereby less porous minerals show the superposition of independent jerks, which were not related to the major collapse at the failure stress. In highly porous berlinite (40% and 50%) an increase of energy emission occurred near the failure point. In contrast, the less porous samples did not show such an increase in energy emission. Instead, in the near vicinity of the main failure point they showed a reduction in the energy exponent to ∼ 1.4, which is consistent with the value reported for compressed porous systems displaying critical behavior. This suggests that a critical avalanche regime with a lack of precursor events occurs. In this case, all preceding large events were 'false alarms' and unrelated to the main failure event. Our results identify a method to use pico-seismicity detection of foreshocks to warn of mine collapse before the main failure (the collapse) occurs, which can be applied to highly porous materials only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number275401
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 9 2014


  • AlPO4
  • acoustic emission
  • failure
  • porous material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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