Petrophysics - Geomechanics

Geomechanics for Energy-related Applications



  Prof. Dr Lyesse Laloui (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Dr Alessio Ferrari (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland)


  1 day


  Petrophysics – Geomechanics






  5 CPD points




Course description

Geomechanics with multiphase and non-isothermal conditions are found in numerous energy-related engineering applications, such as petroleum engineering, nuclear waste storage engineering, unconventional energy resources and CO2 geological sequestration. These applications require an understanding of the behaviour of the involved geomaterials (soils, rocks, shales) and an increased ability to predict their behaviours in variable situations.

The course provides an insight on modern trends in geomechanics for dealing with geomaterials in multiphase and non-isothermal conditions. The course introduces the basic concepts for the characterization of the materials and their numerical modelling. The multiphase composition of the involved geomaterials and the concept of REV for a continuum mechanics approach are recalled. Modern techniques for testing the materials under coupled (thermo-hydro-chemical-mechanical) conditions are introduced. The available evidences for the effects of the changes in the degree of saturation and temperature are summarized, providing the attendances with the possibility to anticipate the behaviours of geomaterials under non-isothermal and partially saturated conditions. Mathematical models are then presented to cope with these complex physical interactions in a quantitative manner and to be able to predict the behaviour of the materials in such conditions. Energy-related engineering applications are finally presented to show how the knowledge gathered with the course can be applied when dealing with complex natural and man-made systems.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will have a first-order understanding of the rheological behaviour of soils, shales and rocks under a variety of saturation conditions and temperature variations. Fundamental constitutive concepts will be well understood and a basic knowledge on the numerical simulation of geomechanical problems will be gained.


Course outline

  • Introduction to geomechanics
  • Multiphase composition of geomaterials
  • Multiphysical testing of geomaterials
  • Behaviour of geomaterials in variable saturation conditions
  • Behaviour of geomaterials in non-isothermal conditions
  • Mathematical modelling of multiphase geomaterials — REV concept
  • Elasticity and elasto-palsticity; critical state concept
  • Effective stress concept for multiphase systems
  • Constitutive modelling for multiphase geomaterials including temperature-dependency
  • Thermo-hydro-mechanical coupling for geomaterials: governing equations
  • Energy-related engineering applications


Participants' profile

The course is designed for postgraduate students, researchers and practitioners in fields where multiphase and non-isothermal behaviour of geomaterials (soils, rocks and shales) plays a fundamental role, such as petroleum engineering, unconventional energy resources, nuclear waste storage engineering and CO2 geological sequestration.



Participants should have basic knowledge of soil and/or rock mechanics is required.


About the instructors

Dr Lyesse Laloui is chair professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, Lausanne. He is also adjunct professor at Duke University, USA. Prior to joining EPFL, he was post-doctoral fellow at Ecole Centrale Paris. He was visiting professor in France, Germany, Australia, Italy, USA (including the MTS Distinguished Visiting Professorship, University of Minnesota). He published 6 books and more than 230 papers including 98 journal papers, 15 chapters in books, 114 conference proceedings papers. He was a guest editor for 6 special journal issues and one ASCE GSP (Geotechnical Special Publication). Following Scopus, his work is cited more than 700 times. He gave keynote and invited lectures at a number of conferences and he is responsible for $7.6 million in research funding. He was the vice-director of the European Alert Geomaterials network and is a member of the Editorial board of five international journals. He is the recipient of the Excellent Contributions Award of the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG, 2008, and the 2012 Vardoulakis Lecture. Dr. Laloui’s main research interests are in Geomechanics (Constitutive modelling and numerical multiphysical coupling processes, laboratory advanced testing), and Environmental and Energy Sustainability (Nuclear waste underground storage, Petroleum Geomechanics, CO2 Geological Sequestration, Geothermal Energy).


Dr Alessio Ferrari is research associate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) since 2009. He earned an MSc in Environmental Engineering and a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering. He was appointed as a Marie-Curie post-doctoral fellow at the EPFL and at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC, Spain). His current main research interests are in geomechanics for man-made and natural systems (thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical behaviour of geomaterials, development of advanced testing facilities, pore scale testing, and natural hazard assessment). He is lecturer of the course in “Experimental Geomechanics” at the EPFL.


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