School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences

Computer modelling of damage in porous media

PROJECT TITLE:

COMPUTER MODELLING OF DAMAGE IN POROUS MEDIA

PROJECT OUTLINE:

The moisture content in soils affects its mechanical and hydraulic properties. Fluid transport instigated by precipitation and evaporation induces cyclic swelling and shrinkage in the soil mass. This leads to the formation of desiccation cracks that weakens the soil mass leading to instabilities e.g. surface subsidence and landslides that cause significant damage to infrastructures built on these foundations. The cracks also promote the transport of chemicals in soils and decreases the effectiveness of geotechnical facilities to inhibit soil pollution and groundwater contamination. These effects are exacerbated with the increased regularity of extreme climate events such as heavy rainfall and extended periods of drought. Studying crack growth in soils caused by moisture transport is important to develop a fundamental understanding of desiccated soil behaviours. It will aid engineers to develop strategies to mitigate the associated geotechnical hazards. This research will novel numerical techniques to address the technical knowledge gaps in the current state-of-the-art in modelling desiccation cracks in soil. A robust technique for multi-physics computational failure analysis of porous media will be established using the polytope scaled boundary finite element method originally developed by Ooi et al (2012). The advances in the research will be applicable to computer simulations in many areas of geotechnical engineering and science.

REFERENCES

Ooi ET, Song C, Tin-Loi F, Yang Z (2012) Polygon scaled boundary finite elements for crack propagation modelling. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng, 91, 319-342

PROJECT SUPERVISION TEAM

Ooi Ean Tat

Thomas Baumgartl

Ashley Dyson