We are working on cutting-edge research that integrates geomechanics and geo-engineering, by conducting fundamental studies on the deformation and failure of geomaterials (rocks and soil) in response to distinct stress, pressure, and temperature changes, with applications to geo-infrastructure, energy, sustainability, and the environment.
Additionally, we are researching rock-fluid interactions and its implications for thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical processes encountered in extracting, exchanging, storing, and protecting underground geo-resources to mitigate geotechnical-related hazards. Based on laboratory tests, our group further develops numerical models to identify geotechnical-related risks triggered by natural or man-made causes, ultimately elucidating these processes' impact at the field scale.
Experimental & Computational Geomechanics
We are passionate about the use of experimental and computational/numerical methods to better predict and understand how rocks, soil, and rock-like materials deform or fail.
We are also interested in the multiscale fracturing behavior of geomaterials, by investigating their interaction fluids in geo-systems, and how the results could be upscaled to a more applicable scale.
Geologic Carbon Sequestration
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.
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
We aim to improve the knowledge of how surface and subsurface geo-structures 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.
Geothermal Energy Systems
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.