Research

We are working on cutting-edge research at the intersection of rock mechanics, energy, biotechnology, and sustainability. Our group investigates mechanical responses of microbial-rock interactions, and the multiscale failure and behavior of rocks and rock-like materials. Based on laboratory tests, our group further develops theoretical and numerical models to predict and mitigate geotechnical-related hazards triggered by natural or man-made causes at multiscale, ultimately elucidating these processes' impact at the field scale. 

Our research areas of interest are: experimental & computational rock mechanics, engineering behavior of rocks, biogeomechanics, rock slope stability, biogeomechanics, CO2 geo-sequestration, geo-energy development & underground energy storage, geotechnical-related hazard mitigation, thermal-induced rock deformation, underground excavation & failure of underground openings.

Experimental & Computational Rock Mechanics,
& Thermal-induced Rock Deformation

5.png

We are passionate about the use of experimental and computational/numerical methods to better predict and understand how rocks and rock-like materials deform or fail in response to changes in stress, pressure, & temperature, and its various applications.

We are also interested in the multiscale fracturing behavior of rocks and rock-like materials, by investigating the interaction between induced fractures and in-situ natural fractures in geo-systems, and how complex fracture mechanical behavior could be predicted in real-time.

    CO2 Geo-Sequestration 

CCS.jpg

CO2 geo-sequestration is an efficient carbon-reduction technology to combat greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their impact on climate change by permanently storing CO2 in geologic formations. Geomechanics is critical to the success of CO2 sequestration in geologic formations. Some of the problems our research is tackling are the characterization of storage, changes in in-situ pressure and temperature due to CO2 injection, the integrity of overlying caprock, etc.

 

Also, we are developing novel CO2 sequestration numerical models and CO2-utilization technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. 

Biogeomechanics 

biogeomech.jpg

Here we apply “biogeomechanics”, an intersection between biotechnology and rock mechanics, which has yielded new insights into the mechanical responses of rocks due to microbial actions.

 

Our research couples experimental methods and numerical modeling to investigate biogeomechanics and its various engineering applications using different microbial strains and biotechnologies.

Geotechnical-related Hazard Mitigation &
Stability of Underground Openings 

4.jpg
Geomechanical modeling_edited.png

We aim to improve the knowledge of how near-surface and subsurface geosystems may be susceptible to failure, in addition to issues related to slope stability, underground excavation, wellbore instability, sand production, stability of underground openings in rocks, etc. We are interested in addressing all surface and near-surface failures related to rock mechanics.

Subsurface structural and integrity-compromising features can lead to detrimental fluid flow into the borehole/wellbore, leakage of stored greenhouse gases in subsurface systems, contamination of water aquifers, and other geo-hazards. We also investigate the risks associated with structural and mechanical integrity in geological and environmental systems to improve sustainability. 

Geo-energy Development & Storage

We are interested in improving the safe and efficient production and recovery of energy resources from geologic formations, including underground energy storage. 

Geothermal Energy Systems

geotherm_edited.jpg

The world is presently in need of diverse and sustainable energy sources and solutions that can help mitigate climate change and protect the environment and the earth. Geothermal energy is one of the viable low-carbon energy solutions that have emerged in recent years.

Here, we are developing “geothermo-mechanics”, which investigates the coupled hydro-geothermo-mechanical geo-systems and its relationships with hydrothermal alterations.