Dynamics of deformation and water flow in heterogeneous porous media and its impact on soil properties

Shih Jung Wang, Kuo Chin Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The interaction of geomechanics and flow within a soil body induces deformation and pore pressure change. Deformation may change hydrogeological and elastic properties, which alters the mechanical behaviour and results in non-linearity. To investigate this interaction effect in a heterogeneous porous medium, a stochastic poroelastic model is proposed. Monte Carlo simulations are performed to determine the mean and uncertainty of the parameter changes, displacement, and change in pore water pressure. Hydraulic conductivity is treated as the only random variable in the coupled geomechanics-flow system due to its large variation compared to other mechanical and hydrogeological properties in natural environments. The three considered non-linear models for the interaction between parameters and deformation are those that consider (1) porosity and hydraulic conductivity; (2) porosity and Young′s modulus; and (3) a combined effect that includes porosity, hydraulic conductivity, and Young's modulus. Boundary effects on the coupled system are also explored. The relationships between changes of porosity, hydraulic conductivity, and Young's modulus are analytically shown to be non-linear. Among the considered parameters, the deformation effect induces the largest reduction in hydraulic conductivity. The deformationinduced change in hydraulic conductivity shows the most significant effect on the mean and variance of the change in pore water pressure and displacement, while changes in Young's modulus have the least effect. When the deformation effect is considered, the superposition relationship does not exist in the mean displacement and mean change in pore water pressure for the three scenarios considered; it exists for the case without deformation effects. Deformation also causes a reduction in the effective hydraulic conductivity for the whole domain. The scenario that considers both loading and discharge boundaries has larger changes in hydrogeological and geo-mechanical parameters than those in scenarios that consider loading and discharge boundaries separately. The results indicate that the interaction between deformation and changes in parameters has a profound effect on the poroelastic system. The effect of deformation should thus be considered in modelling and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3569-3582
Number of pages14
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Deformation effect
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Poroelastic theory
  • Porosity
  • Uncertainty
  • Young's modulus


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