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Modelling of the coupling of fracture and mass transport in heterogeneous porous materials

Discrete meso-scopic analysis of mass-transport in a heterogeneous material.

Hydraulic fracture: Thick-walled cylinder subject to internal fluid pressure.

Micro cracking induced conductivity.

We aim to model coupled processes of fracture and mass transport in heterogeneous materials using discrete approaches. Fracture influences the permeability and rate of ingress of substances in heterogeneous materials, which can have negative effects on durability of materials. Furthermore, fluid pressure can initiate and propagate fracture. We are trying to improve the understanding of the relation between cracking and fluid transport by modelling the material at multiple scales.

A recent example of our work is the modelling of hydraulic fracturing using a coupled lattice approach. The interaction of fluid pressure and mechanical response is described by Biot's theory. The lattice model is applied to the analysis of a thick-walled cylinder, for which an analytical solution for the elastic response is derived. It is shown that the proposed lattice approach provides results that are independent of the mesh size. Moreover, a strong geometrical size effect on nominal strength is observed which lies between analytically derived lower and upper bounds. This size effect decreases with increasing Biot's coefficient. Details of the modelling approach are presented in one of our recent articles (DOI).

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Last updated by Peter Grassl