On the initiation of boudinage and folding instabilities in layered elasto-visco-plastic solids - Insights from natural microstructures and numerical simulations

Peters, Max (2016). On the initiation of boudinage and folding instabilities in layered elasto-visco-plastic solids - Insights from natural microstructures and numerical simulations (Unpublished). (Dissertation, Institut für Geologie, Philosophisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät)

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The present understanding of the initiation of boudinage and folding structures is based on viscosity contrasts and stress exponents, considering an intrinsically unstable state of the layer. The criterion of localization is believed to be prescribed by geometry-material interactions, which are often encountered in natural structures. An alternative localization phenomenon has been established for ductile materials, in which instability emerges for critical material parameters and loading rates from homogeneous conditions. In this thesis, conditions are sought under which this type of instability prevails and whether localization in geological materials necessarily requires a trigger by geometric imperfections. The relevance of critical deformation conditions, material parameters and the spatial configuration of instabilities are discussed in a geological context. In order to analyze boudinage geometries, a numerical eigenmode analysis is introduced. This method allows determining natural frequencies and wavelengths of a structure and inducing perturbations on these frequencies. In the subsequent coupled thermo-mechanical simulations, using a grain size evolution and end-member flow laws, localization emerges when material softening through grain size sensitive viscous creep sets in. Pinch-and-swell structures evolve along slip lines through a positive feedback between the matrix response and material bifurcations inside the layer, independent from the mesh-discretization length scale. Since boudinage and folding are considered to express the same general instability, both structures should arise independently of the sign of the loading conditions and for identical material parameters. To this end, the link between material to energy instabilities is approached by means of bifurcation analyses of the field equations and finite element simulations of the coupled system of equations. Boudinage and folding structures develop at the same critical energy threshold, where dissipative work by temperature-sensitive creep overcomes the diffusive capacity of the layer. This finding provides basis for a unified theory for strain localization in layered ductile materials. The numerical simulations
are compared to natural pinch-and-swell microstructures, tracing the adaption of grain sizes, textures and creep mechanisms in calcite veins. The switch from dislocation to diffusion creep relates to strain-rate weakening, which is induced by dissipated heat from grain size reduction, and marks the onset of continuous necking. The time-dependent sequence uncovers multiple steady states at different time intervals. Microstructurally and mechanically stable conditions are finally expressed in the pinch-and-swell end members. The major outcome of this study is that boudinage and folding can be described as the same coupled energy-mechanical bifurcation, or as one critical energy attractor. This finding allows the derivation of critical deformation conditions and fundamental material parameters directly from localized structures in the field.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Peters, Max; Herwegh, Marco and Berger, Alfons


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Marco Herwegh

Date Deposited:

21 Jul 2016 16:43

Last Modified:

21 Jul 2016 16:43





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