Multiscale formulation of frictional contact mechanics at the pore scale

Yashar Mehmani, Nicola Castelletto, Hamdi A. Tchelepi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Direct numerical simulation (DNS) yields the highest fidelity predictions of mechanical deformation at the pore scale, but is prohibitively expensive for analyzing large or many samples. Discrete element methods (DEM) are an efficient alternative, but are limited to granular media and incapable of estimating or controlling prediction errors. We present a pore-level multiscale method (PLMM) that approximates DNS efficiently and with controllable accuracy. We focus on the linear elastic response of a consolidated geologic porous medium with arbitrary microstructure, heterogeneous mineralogy, containing cracks or defects. PLMM decomposes the solid phase into non-overlapping subdomains, on which local basis functions are constructed. The bases are then coupled with a global interface problem that accounts for slip or stick contact conditions between the subdomains. PLMM produces an initial, but accurate, approximation to DNS that can be iteratively improved. It is amenable to parallelism and allows for different mesh, models, and physics in each subdomain. An algebraic interpretation of PLMM as a preconditioner is also presented to allow non-intrusive implementation into existing solvers. This work extends previous developments of PLMM in fluid dynamics to solid mechanics and enables future extensions towards modeling coupled flow and mechanics problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110092
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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