Cracking and damage from crystallization in pores: Coupled chemo-hydro-mechanics and phase-field modeling

Choo, Jinhyun; Sun, WaiChing

Cracking and damage from crystallization of minerals in pores center on a wide range of problems, from weathering and deterioration of structures to storage of CO2 via in situ carbonation. Here we develop a theoretical and computational framework for modeling these crystallization-induced deformation and fracture in fluid-infiltrated porous materials. Conservation laws are formulated for coupled chemo-hydro-mechanical processes in a multiphase material composed of the solid matrix, liquid solution, gas, and crystals. We then derive an expression for the effective stress tensor that is energy-conjugate to the strain rate of a porous material containing crystals growing in pores. This form of effective stress incorporates the excess pore pressure exerted by crystal growth – the crystallization pressure – which has been recognized as the direct cause of deformation and fracture during crystallization in pores. Continuum thermodynamics is further exploited to formalize a constitutive framework for porous media subject to crystal growth. The chemo-hydro-mechanical model is then coupled with a phase-field approach to fracture which enables simulation of complex fractures without explicitly tracking their geometry. For robust and efficient solution of the initial–boundary value problem at hand, we utilize a combination of finite element and finite volume methods and devise a block-partitioned preconditioning strategy. Through numerical examples we demonstrate the capability of the proposed modeling frameworkfor simulating complex interactions among unsaturated flow, crystallization kinetics, and cracking in the solid matrix.


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Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering

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March 24, 2018