Structural Engineering

Aerospace Biological Civil Geotechnical Mechanical

Application of Particulate Models to Problems in Energy Geotechnics

Seminar Speaker
T. Matthew Evans
Seminar Date
Wednesday, Apr 6, 2022 - 12:00 pm
Seminar Location - Room
Speaker Bio

Matt is a Professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering and the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Advancement in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University. Prior to OSU he was on the faculty at North Carolina State University for six years. His research interests include granular mechanics, multiphysics processes, quantitative stereology, image processing and morphology, and “non-textbook” soils. He serves on the editorial board of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering and is Vice Chair of the Technical Coordination Council of the ASCE Geo-Institute. Matt earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico, and a B.A. in physics from the University of Virginia

A diverse array of (broadly defined) energy applications is an increasingly large part of the geotechnical engineer’s portfolio, both in research and practice. Specific examples can be drawn from the entire energy spectrum – resource recovery (responsible extraction of hydrocarbons, geothermal), energy generation (foundation and anchor systems for wind and wave energy structures), thermally active geostructures (energy piles and walls), resource protection (foundations for nuclear plants), and waste disposal (geologic carbon sequestration, nuclear waste isolation). These are complex applications often involving cyclic loading, multiphysics processes, and/or multiple spatiotemporal scales. While continuum constitutive models are typically necessary for design of these systems, particulate (i.e., discrete element method, DEM) simulations can be powerful tools for elucidating the governing physics and providing insight into the underlying processes that influence behavior at the design scale. This seminar will consider the application of DEM models to two problems with important geo-energy applications. The first problem that we will consider will be quite practical: installation and pullout resistance of anchors for marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy converters. Anchor installation is a large-deformation problem not readily amenable to continuum treatments. Subsequent loading of the anchor is characterized by smaller cyclic strains that result in fabric – and thus, behavior – evolution in the soil, potentially characterized by ratcheting and shakedown. The second problem considered will be somewhat more theoretical: thermal conduction and percolation in granular assemblies. It is possible to augment soils in-situ to tune their thermomechanical properties to suit a given application, but an understanding of the driving physics is necessary for design of such augmentation.


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