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Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical modelling

ParaGeo is designed to solve single-field, two-field and multi-field coupled problems including:

  • Single field: Mechanical, thermal, porous flow

  • Two field: Hydro-mechanical, thermo-mechanical, thermal-flow applications

  • Multi-field: Coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical problems

In coupled problems the governing equations for each of the fields are solved, namely:

  • The mass-momentum balance for the mechanical field

  • Darcy flow equation for the fluid flow field

  • Advective-diffusion equation for the thermal field

The coupling procedures capture both the strongly and weakly coupled interactions between the individual fields. For example, compactive volumetric strain (porosity decrease) from the mechanical field leads to an increase in fluid pore pressure. Changes in pore pressure influence the stress path of the mechanical field and consequently the material evolution. The temperature transfer depends on the bulk thermal conductivity which is calculated from the relative contribution of the grain and pore fluid thermal conductivities and hence is updated with compaction. At the same time compaction may be influenced by temperature via a diagenesis law or due to temperature dependent compressibility law in the material or temperature-dependent creep in salt adjacent to the structure.

In general, coupled simulations are transient, and both staggered and iterative coupling approaches are available. Large geometrical changes, including sedimentation and erosion, are enabled by the adaptive remeshing and mapping procedures. Specialised procedures have also been implemented for coupled analysis of faults and fractures. These facilitate fluid flow across and along discrete contact surfaces and thermal flow across contact surfaces. The influence of fracture/fault pore pressure on the potential for slip along the contact surface is also taken into account.

Schematic of the interactions between the coupled fields

Additional coupling-related features and applications in ParaGeo include:

  • Coupling for contact surfaces

  • Modelling of fluid expansion terms

  • Diagenetic thermally controlled kinetic reactions

  • Modelling of kerogen maturation

  • Modelling of hydraulic fracturing

  • Temperature dependent viscoplastic constitutive models appropriate for salt modelling

  • Temperature dependent fluid viscosity

Evolution of vertical displacements (top), pore pressure (centre) and temperature (bottom) in GoM style mini basins sinking on salt. In the top figure the vectors indicate displacement directions within the salt.

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