PhD Opportunity: “From geo-resources to energy storage: how do underground lithologies respond to thermo-mechanical coupling ?”

On our quest to decarbonise our energy resources, underground heat energy storage is a key player. However, the impact of frequent cyclic thermo-mechanical (TM) stress changes over prolonged periods remains poorly understood and may threatened the longevity of the systems. This project will aim to fill the gap by performing laboratory and numerical experiments under relevant cyclic TM loading conditions to investigate the stability of targeted lithologies in such systems.

The scope of this PhD project is to use different scale observations to model and predict the stability of targeted lithologies in underground complex systems when those are subjected to cyclic TM stress changes over prolonged periods. This research work seeks to understand how grain scale deformation can contribute to the global response of the underground systems and how this response can be controlled to reduce any accompanied induced hazards. An innovative methodology, combining laboratory and numerical experiments, will be applied to extend the understanding of the thermo-sensitive brittle deformation processes in porous rocks. The data will provide information to support field scale operational conditions involving periodic TM stress changes as well as shed light on potential for cascading shallow geohazards.

O1: Examine the relationship between microstructural deformation and TM stresses.
O2: Collect, analyse and model TM data together.
O3: Transfer and improve existing DEM code from UDEC to open source and
undertake grain size sensitivity analysis.
O4: Provide relevant data to inform on risks associated to TM stresses in underground geological storage conditions

For more info on the eligibility:

Application process:
In the first instance the application process involves completing both the application form and the EDI form below by 7th January 2022 at 5pm. If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted by 17th January 2022 and invited to put in a full application to the university where the PhD is based by 8th February 2022.

For more info on the application process:

More information on the PhD opportunity on this flyer:

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