Evolution of Wear and Friction Along Experimental Faults

Y. Boneh, J. C. Chang, D. A. Lockner, Z. Reches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We investigate the evolution of wear and friction along experimental faults composed of solid rock blocks. This evolution is analyzed through shear experiments along five rock types, and the experiments were conducted in a rotary apparatus at slip velocities of 0.002–0.97 m/s, slip distances from a few millimeters to tens of meters, and normal stress of 0.25–6.9 MPa. The wear and friction measurements and fault surface observations revealed three evolution phases: A) An initial stage (slip distances <50 mm) of wear by failure of isolated asperities associated with roughening of the fault surface; B) a running-in stage of slip distances of 1–3 m with intense wear-rate, failure of many asperities, and simultaneous reduction of the friction coefficient and wear-rate; and C) a steady-state stage that initiates when the fault surface is covered by a gouge layer, and during which both wear-rate and friction coefficient maintain quasi-constant, low levels. While these evolution stages are clearly recognizable for experimental faults made from bare rock blocks, our analysis suggests that natural faults “bypass” the first two stages and slip at gouge-controlled steady-state conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3125-3141
Number of pages17
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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