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Transport-geomechanics coupling is of practical necessity in engineering when their mutual impact has a first-order impact (>10%) on results. In soil mechanics, most design or analysis issues do not meet this criterion, hence coupling may not be of practical value. In petroleum geomechanics, however, coupling is usually necessary because the compressibilities of the mineral, the fabric and the fluid are similar.
Coupling involves a number of issues and levels. At one level, coupling of diffusion processes involves joint solution of heat flux, pressure propagation, ionic diffusion, and even electrical current effects. At the mechanics level, coupling these processes with geomechanics in a Biot poroelasticity formulation involves joint or iterative solution of the pressure, temperature and concentration fields along with the stress and strain field. At yet another level, there exist strong dependencies of transport properties on non-linear effects such as shear dilation, partial fabric collapse, joint aperture dilation, temperature and viscosity, and so on. Incorporating these non-linear effects into realistic mathematical modelling is the next major challenge in petroleum geomechanics.
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