Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Behavior of Clays

Abstract: The coupling of thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of clays is of great importance in problems relating to the containment of radioactive waste and ground source heat exchangers (shallow geothermal heating/cooling systems). Research on the latter was initiated through a three-way collaboration with colleagues at Tsinghua and Cambridge Universities. The MIT research aims to simulate ground response due to seasonal heating and cooling using the TTS model formulated by colleagues at Tsinghua University. The TTS model is based on a novel thermodynamic framework where coupling between thermal and mechanical properties is due to the exchange between bound and free water within the clay. There are only limited data available to evaluate the model and future research will need to conduct more extensive validation.