University of Vermont

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research

Research Projects:

Experimental Investigation of Coupled Processes Effects on Fracture Network in Enhaced Geothermal Systems

As the geothermal fluid circulates between the injection and production wells through existing or man-made fractures, it interacts with the reservoir rock, and triggers coupled Thermal-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) processes that impact reservoir dynamics and productivity. Change in fracture aperture and permeability due to coupled processes caused by fluid injection/extraction operations could significantly affect the EGS production success. We are conducting laboratory experiments on fractured granite specimens at reservoir conditions to investigate how the coupled processes affect the fracture aperture and permeability evolution at EGS reservoir, and to improve the predictive capability of existing models using well-constrained experimental laboratory data.
Test Column    CT images      
Caulk, R., Ghazanfari, E., Perdrial, J., Perdrial, N. (2016). "Experimental Investigation of Fracture Aperture and Permeability Change within Enhanced Geothermal Systems". Journal of Geothermics, 62 (2016) 12–21


Energy Pile Performance Evaluation using COMSOL

The performance of energy piles remains a key area of research. The initial geothermal energy pile design controls the heat transfer and thermal stresses associated with the thermal soil-structure interaction for the lifespan of the foundation. We are using numerical modeling (COMSOL) calibrated with field data to gain more insight into long-term thermal storage and stress mobilization within active energy piles.
Energy Pile   Temperature
Caulk, R., Ghazanfari, E., McCartnery, J. (2016) "Parameterization of a Calibrated Geothermal Energy Pile Model". Journal of Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 5 (2016) 1-15
Caulk, R., McCartney, J., Ghazanfari, E. (2014), "Calibration of a Geothermal Energy Pile Model", COMSOL Conference, Boston, MA, 2014


Geomechanical Characterization of Marcellus Shale

We are conducting laboratory experiments on Marcellus shale specimens to investigate the geo-mechanical effects on short-term (i.e. effect on fracturing mechanism) and long-term (i.e. effect on transport properties and production) behavior of these formations. Elasto-plastic, yielding, failure, and anisotropy evolution response of Marcellus shale specimens are investigated as a function of pressure, temperature, and bedding angle through a series of hydrostatic and triaxial experiments (single and multi-stage) using high pressure/temperature servo controlled trixial system (Autolab 1500). Additional characterization includes mineralogy, porosity, and fabric through thin section and X-Ray CT imaging technique.
Strain Gauges  Strain Plot

Villamor, R., Ghazanfari, E., Asanza, E. (2016) "Geomechanical Characterization of Marcellus Shale". Journal of  Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, DOI 10.1007/s00603-016-0955-7

Villamor Lora, R., Ghazanfari, E. (2014), "Geomechanical Characterization of Shale Formations for Sustainable Production", ASCE Shale Energy Engineering Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, 2014


Application of Electrokinetics in Subsurface Energy

Electrically Enhanced Oil Recovery (EEOR) is a new technique that has great potential in resource recovery specifically in heavy oil reservoirs. We are conducting laboratory investigation on natural and synthetic cores o understand the effect of petro-physical characteristics of formation (i.e., pore structure, constitutive relationships) on flow characteristics and important parameters affecting oil recovery in clay rich formations using state of the art tools. We are also developing a mathematical model to predict the two-phase flow under applied hydraulic and electric gradients based on the petro-physical properties of the formation and the physical/chemical properties of the crude oil.
EEOR test cells   Flow back treatment

Peraki, M., Ghazanfari, E., Pinder, G.F., Harrington, T.L. (2016) "Electrodialysis: An Application for the Environmental Protection in Shale-gas Extraction". Journal of  Separation and Purification, Vol. 161, pp 96–103

Peraki, M., Ghazanfari, E. (2014), "Electrodialysis Treatment of Flow-back Water for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development", ASCE Shale Energy Eng. Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, 2014


Reliability of Stiffness Measurement in Intelligent Compaction

We are identifying the field Quality Assurance (QA) techniques currently available for intelligent compaction to establish QA parameters, evaluating the degree of uncertainty associated with IC measurement values using available data and laboratory experiments, and identifying test sections in collaboration with Vermont Agency of Transportation to conduct IC techniques.

IC


Stiffness Characterization of Extraterrestrial Regolith using Geophysical Techniques

We are investigating the suitability of the existing geophysical methods for stiffness characterization of extraterrestrial regolith and performing necessary modifications for adaptation of these techniques.
Mars

Last modified May 06 2016 03:10 PM