Victoria Chapter

Energy and Environmental Geomechanics

Associate Professor Marcelo Sanchez

Abstract

In the last few years geotechnical engineering has expanded its domain into the field of Energy Geotechnics. This has led to the study of the behaviour of soils and rocks under complex and extreme conditions involving mechanical, hydraulic, thermal, and geochemical coupled actions. This branch of geotechnical engineering will play a fundamental role in the near future due to the increase in energy demands in the next decades associated with economic development and population growth worldwide. Geotechnical engineering is often at the core of the energy challenge, from production and transportation, to waste management and carbon sequestration.

The prediction of geo-engineering systems behaviour under complex coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical and Chemical (THMC) conditions represents huge challenges for our profession, but also extraordinary opportunities to gain a better understanding of soils and rocks behaviour under such extremes.

In this lecture, recent improvements in our understanding of geomaterials behaviour subjected to simultaneous THMC perturbations will be presented, as well as the incorporation of the main features associated with the THMC behaviour of soils and rocks in constitutive and numerical models.

Some of the applications to be briefly discussed in this seminar include:

  • Behaviour of swelling clays and pelletized mixtures typically used in the design of engineered barriers and seals;
  • Performance of geo-thermal structures;
  • Behaviour of hydrate bearing sediments;
  • Fault reactivation triggered by gas injections; and
  • Design of underground compressed air storage system.

About Dr Marcelo Sanchezmsanchez

Dr Marcelo Sanchez was appointed as an Associated Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering TAMU in September 2009. He obtained his first degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de San Juan (Argentina). His Master and Ph.D. (2004) degrees are from the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC, Barcelona, Spain). His expertise lies in the analysis of Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical and Chemical (THMC) coupled problems in geological media. He is also interested in unsaturated soils mechanics, in both experimental and numerical investigations. He is the Chairman of the ISSMGE Technical Committee TC308 on “Energy Geotechnics”.

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