ARC Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science & Engineering

Multiphysics Modelling

Emerging geotechnical design problems span material behaviour beyond the domain of conventional soil mechanics. This behaviour is often governed by multiphysical processes that operate at different length and time scales. Examples include submarine slides, where geomaterials at high water content may transform into non-Newtonian fluids, and the influence of gas which can alter the response radically. Similarly, the frictional strength of soil-structure interfaces depends crucially on the contact micromechanics, varying by an order of magnitude with loading rate and accumulated displacement.

Key innovations  in this Program are addressing the multi-faceted behaviour of geomaterials. This includes the development of thermodynamically-sound multiphase models and efficient computational algorithms for solving complex boundary values problems, such as those associated with soft seabed sediments, highly compressible estuarine clays, coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical phenomena, and the dissociation of gas hydrates. Sophisticated physical modelling, with visualisation of the deformation modes, is underpinning the development of the advanced computational algorithms for capturing the multi-phase material response. This synergy, which harnesses the strengths of the various geotechnical groups, is a major feature of the proposed CGSE and is being used across all the research Programs.