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Micromechanics of rock fracture: enabling energy-efficient mining through next generation cracking models

Project description

A new model for low-energy rock breaking

Mining operations are often conducted in remote locations, increasing the need for reliable off-grid energy sources. Aiming for near-zero environmental impact and sustainability, the generation and use of energy in a cleaner and more efficient way is a top priority. This hinges on the development of innovative energy efficient mining techniques. In this context, the EU-funded MICROCRACK project will develop a model for anisotropic cracking of heterogeneous rocks. By laying the scientific foundations for micromechanical modelling of rock fracture, this new model will embed the mechanisms governing cracking of heterogeneous rocks through a novel and interdisciplinary approach. Findings will be made available via a dissemination strategy aimed at increasing the impact of the research outcomes.

Objective

Mining is a huge industry that accounts for a very significant share of global energy consumption, with rock comminution being responsible for – at least – half of the total energy expenditure. There is, consequently, a strong need to develop innovative energy-efficient mining techniques, and this proposal will focus on this major opportunity.

A physically-based constitutive framework for anisotropic cracking of heterogeneous rocks will be developed, laying the scientific foundations for micromechanical modelling of rock fracture. The model will embed the mechanisms governing cracking of heterogeneous rocks in a novel and interdisciplinary approach. The complementary profile of the applicant and the host group is a strong asset, with their previous experience in micromechanics and fracture establishing the basis to successfully overcome the theoretical, numerical and experimental challenges of the project. The proposal builds upon the applicant’s background and involves new research areas, widening his competences and supporting development to academic maturity.

An appropriate work plan has been programmed to achieve the scientific objectives and ensure knowledge transfer. Milestones and deliverables have been established to monitor the progress of the project implementation and pertinent corrective measures projected. A detailed dissemination strategy has been proposed to communicate findings to the general public, and to increase the impact of the research outcomes in the scientific community and engineering practice.

The Cambridge Centre for Micromechanics provides an optimum environment for the project, containing the facilities required to perform the indispensable critical experiments and advanced numerical simulations. Moreover, it constitutes a unique platform to develop international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary recognition, supporting the applicant in achieving a breakthrough that will significantly impact his scientific career.

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Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Net EU contribution
€ 183 454,80
Address
Trinity lane the old schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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Region
East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00