New paper: Cracking and damage from crystallization in pores: Coupled chemo-hydro-mechanics and phase-field modeling

Our paper on chemo-hydro-mechanical and phase-field modeling of cracking and damage from crystallization in pores, in collaboration with Prof. WaiChing Sun at Columbia University, has been accepted for publication in Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering.

Read the paper: Choo and Sun, CMAME 2018b.

Abstract: Cracking and damage from crystallization of minerals in pores center on to a wide range of problems, from weathering and deterioration of structures to storage of CO2 via in situ carbonation. Here we develop a theoretical and computational framework for modeling these crystallization-induced deformation and fracture in fluid-infiltrated porous materials. Conservation laws are formulated for coupled chemo-hydro-mechanical processes in a multiphase material composed of the solid matrix, liquid solution, gas, and crystals. We then derive an expression for the effective stress tensor that is energy-conjugate to the strain rate of a porous material containing crystals growing in pores. This form of effective stress incorporates the excess pore pressure exerted by crystal growth—the crystallization pressure—which has been recognized as the direct cause of deformation and fracture during crystallization in pores. Continuum thermodynamics is further exploited to formalize a constitutive framework for porous media subject to crystal growth. The chemo-hydro-mechanical model is then coupled with a phase-field approach to fracture which enables simulation of complex fractures without explicitly tracking their geometry. For robust and efficient solution of the initial-boundary value problem at hand, we utilize a combination of finite element and finite volume methods and devise a block-partitioned preconditioning strategy. Through numerical examples we demonstrate the capability of the proposed framework for simulating complex interactions among unsaturated flow, crystallization kinetics, and cracking in the solid matrix.

This work proposes a chemo-hydro-mechanical model for computer simulation of cracking and damage in porous materials from crystallization in pores. This phenomenon appears in many problems including weathering of geologic materials, and it involves very intricate physics whereby reactive flow interacts with deformation and fracture. This figure shows the results of our coupled chemo-hydro-mechanical simulation of salt damage in a stone, which have been the subject of numerous experimental studies such as Scherer (2004), CCR 34:1613–1624.

This work proposes a chemo-hydro-mechanical model for computer simulation of cracking and damage in porous materials from crystallization in pores. This phenomenon appears in many problems including weathering of geologic materials, and it involves very intricate physics whereby reactive flow interacts with deformation and fracture. This figure shows the results of our coupled chemo-hydro-mechanical simulation of salt damage in a stone, which have been the subject of numerous experimental studies such as Scherer (2004), CCR 34:1613–1624.