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Theses Doctoral

Multiscale thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical coupling effects for fluid-infiltrating crystalline solids and geomaterials: theory, implementation, and validation

Na, SeonHong

Extreme climate change and demanding energy resources have led to new geotechnical engineering challenges critical for sustainable development and resilient infrastructure of our society. Applications such as geological disposal of nuclear waste and carbon dioxide, artificial ground freezing, and hydraulic fractures all require an in-depth understanding of the thermo-hydro-mechanical coupling mechanisms of geomaterials subjected to various environmental impact. This dissertation presents a multiphysical computational framework dedicated to address the issues related to those unconventional applications.
Our objective is not only incorporating multiphysical coupling effects at the constitutive laws, but also taking into account the nonlocal effects originated from the flow of pore-fluid, thermal convection and diffusion among solid and fluid constituents, and crystallization and recrystallization of crystals in the pore space across length scales. By considering these coupling mechanisms, we introduce a single unified model capable of predicting complex thermo-hydro-mechanical responses of geological and porous media across wide spectra of temperature, confining pressure and loading rate.
This modeling framework applies to two applications, i.e., the freezing and thawing of frozen soil and the modeling of anisotropic crystal plasticity/fracture response of rock salt. Highlights of the key ingredients of the models cover the stabilization procedure used for the multi-field finite element, the return mapping algorithm for crystal plasticity, the micromorphic regularization of the Modified Cam-Clay model, and the strategy for enhancing computational efficiency of solvers, such as pre-conditioner, adaptive meshing, and internal variable mapping. By introducing the multiphysical coupling mechanisms explicitly, our computational geomechanics model is able to deliver more accurate and consistent results without introducing a significant amount of additional material parameters.
In a parallel effort, we analyze the impact of thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) coupling effects on the dynamic wave propagation and strain localization in a fully saturated softening porous medium. The investigation starts with deriving the characteristic polynomial corresponding to the governing equations of the THM system. The theoretical analysis based on the Abel–Ruffini theorem reveals that the roots of the characteristic polynomial for the THM problem cannot be expressed algebraically. Our analysis concludes that the rate-dependence introduced by multiphysical coupling may not regularize the THM governing equations when softening occurs.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Thesis Advisors
Sun, WaiChing
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 7, 2018