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Coupled multi-scale modelling of mechanical degradation and transport phenomena in damaging multi-phase geomaterials for environmental applications

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EU-funded research hone pore-scale models

To more accurately predict how fluids will spread, EU-funded scientists have designed numerical models that simulate their flow at the pore scale.

Industrial Technologies

Numerical simulations are also required to extrapolate up to several orders of magnitude over areas where phenomena of interest occur. For example, transport of water through membranes for water treatment and solute transport in soils and underground. Understanding such transport phenomena in industrial and environmental contexts is difficult due to the complexity of the interactions. The MULTIROCK project team developed a multiscale modelling strategy to address the challenge posed by multiple scales. The void space of porous materials often contains two or three fluid phases: liquids, gases and plastic solids. Porous materials absorb and diffuse fluid through their body, which affects the physical properties of the deformable body. Furthermore, the fluid flow is affected by damage induced by external loading in conjunction with processes such as corrosion. In this light, a versatile computational technique was used to investigate the effect of progressive degradation on permeability. Pore-scale modelling was adapted for various types of materials such as rocks and soils with complex microstructure. Once the MULTIROCK scientists had developed their software programmes to accurately model the fluid flow at the pore level, their findings were translated to macroscopic behaviour. The results of multi-scale computations reproduced experimental permeabilities and were excellent fits to mechanical dispersion observed in test beds. The new techniques should bring modelling to a predictive level, where the forecast of a system's response is of practical interest in engineering applications. The MULTIROCK project results are described in a series of five papers published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Keywords

Pore, fluid, numerical model, membrane, water treatment, solute, corrosion, degradation, permeability, microstructure, software

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