PhD position : Experimental and numerical investigation of environmental factors affecting grain crushing
Joint PhD position at UCLouvain and Ecole des Ponts in Geomechanics
Grain breakage is a common occurrence in granular media when the intergranular forces exceed the individual particle strength and is of major importance in many areas of geosciences. Experimental evidences suggest that particle breakage may significantly influence the mechanical behavior of the material promoting strain localization and favoring chemical interaction between reactive fluids and minerals. These effects are of major importance in geotechnical engineering for the design of geotechnical structures such as deep foundations or embankments, but also in geology for the understanding of fault mechanics and the propagation of landslides.
The objective of this PhD will be to understand and characterize the effect of environmental conditions like degree of saturation, stress-path, ambient temperature and chemical environment on the mechanism of grain crushing. To achieve this goal, the project proposes a multidisciplinary integrated research strategy that combines experiments using a state-of-theart high pressure and high temperature triaxial device at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, together with numerical modelling using an open-source parallel Finite Element framework specifically designed to study different geomechanical problems involving multi-physical couplings.