Effects of dynamic capillarity on the shear strength of sandy soils during transient two-phase flow: Insights from non-equilibrium triaxial simulations

Alireza Daman Shokouh, Ehsan Nikooee*, Ghassem Habibagahi, S. Majid Hassanizadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Modeling two-phase flow in unsaturated porous media is not only important to vadose zone hydrology but also of great value in diverse disciplines. Common approaches use a simplified relationship between fluid pressure difference and saturation, neglecting the influence of saturation change rates. However, many studies have suggested that the applicability of this approach is limited to situations where the rate of change in saturation is insignificant. Despite several studies highlighting the importance of non-equilibrium capillarity effects in unsaturated flow modeling, its significance in the mechanical response of the porous medium remains unclear. This study thus aims to address this gap by comparing the simulation results of the traditional static approach and an advanced approach that incorporates dynamic capillarity effects. The comparison is conducted under various flow boundary conditions to assess the magnitude of the differences between the two approaches. The results indicate that as the hydraulic boundary conditions’ absolute values increase, the contrast between the mechanical response of the two simulation scenarios (dynamic and static) becomes more significant. For instance, the dynamic model can predict shear strengths up to 50% higher than the static model. This highlights the importance of considering non-equilibrium effects while modeling the mechanical behavior of an unsaturated porous medium. Finally, the parametric study of the effect of dynamic coefficient, air entry value, and saturated conductivity reveals the more pronounced effect of the dynamic coefficient on the mechanical response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20351
Number of pages17
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Volume23
Issue number4
Early online date29 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024

Keywords

  • Porous-media
  • Pressure
  • Thermodynamics

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