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Research

We are working on cutting-edge research at the intersection of geomechanics and geotechnical engineering to address problems impacting infrastructure, geosystems, energy transition, and sustainability. 

Our research is focused on: 

    1.  Fundamental Geomechanics and Geomaterial Studies: 

  • Multiscale deformation and fracture behavior of porous materials (rocks and soils).

  • Biogeomechanics /biogeotechnics and characterization of bio-mediated rocks and soils.

  • Thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical (THCM) coupled processes in geomaterials (rocks and soils).

    2.  Resiliency of Natural and Built Infrastructure: 

  • Rock grouting and reinforcement.

  • Slope stability.

  • Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) systems.

  • Soil thermal conductivity.

  • Geotechnical-related hazard mitigation.

   3.  Energy Geotechnics and Sustainability: 

  • Underground hydrogen production and storage.

  • CO2 sequestration.

  • Climate change impact on geosystems (carbon-neutral engineering solutions).

  • Geothermal energy systems.

  • Energy geo-resources.

  • Other energy-related geotechnical engineering problems.

Experimental & Computational Geomechanics:
Mechanics of Porous Materials

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We are passionate about the use of experimental and computational/numerical methods to better predict and understand how porous materials deform or fail. We are also interested in the multiscale mechanical behavior of geomaterials, by investigating their fracture mechanics in complex underground systems, and how the results could be upscaled to field-scale applications.

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Rock Grouting & Infrastructure Reinforcements  

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An important problem our research group is addressing is rock grouting with natural and expansive cementitious materials as a barrier/seal in underground repositories, grout in tunnel roof supporting, and improving near-wellbore integrity against leakages. We are also interested in its applications as slope reinforcement. 

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Biogeomechanics and Biogeotechnics

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Here we study “biogeomechanics”, an intersection between biotechnology and rock mechanics, and bio-inspired geotechnics which has yielded new insights into the mechanical responses of geomaterials (rocks and soils) due to bio-mediated processes.

 

Our research couples experimental methods and numerical modeling to investigate the multiscale chemo-hydro-mechanical behavior of rocks and soils due to interactions with biological processes, and their various engineering applications.

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    CO2 Sequestration 

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Geologic CO2 sequestration is an efficient carbon-reduction technology to combat greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their impact on climate change by storing atmospheric 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. 

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Geotechnical-related Hazard Prediction and Mitigation 

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

Surface and subsurface mechanical and integrity-compromising features can lead to induced slope failure and rockfall hazards, detrimental fluid flow into the borehole/wellbore, leakage of stored fluids in subsurface systems, cand other geo-hazards. We also investigate the risks associated with mechanical integrity in geological and environmental systems to improve sustainability. 

Geo-Energy Resources and Energy Geotechnics

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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. Energy from hydrogen and geothermal systems are viable low-carbon energy solutions that have emerged in recent years.

Here, we are investigating the coupled thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical processes in subsurface rocks and their complex behavior due to underground hydrogen production and storage. We are also exploring the intersection between geomechanics and geothermal energy systems. 

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