Subsurface Flow

Phillip Oberdorfer | August 18, 2014

Safe and cost-effective drilling is a major issue in the oil and gas industry. In addition to the common prospecting risk, the borehole itself provides uncertainties that are not desired, but unavoidable. Today, we would like to show how numerical simulations can help here. The goal is to predict the stability of an open-hole multilateral well for deciding if the well will need expensive mechanical stabilization — or not.

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Phillip Oberdorfer | April 24, 2014

In the second part of our Geothermal Energy series, we focus on the coupled heat transport and subsurface flow processes that determine the thermal development of the subsurface due to geothermal heat production. The described processes are demonstrated in an example model of a hydrothermal doublet system.

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Amelia Halliday | April 1, 2014

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is regarded as one of the most famous landmarks in the world, although geotechnical engineers probably view it more as a construction gaffe. To prevent such a leaning fate, it could be useful to run an analysis in order to predict possible subsidence due to poroelastic deformation.

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Phillip Oberdorfer | March 28, 2014

In this first entry of our new Geothermal Energy series, we introduce the concept of modeling geothermal processes and the many physical phenomena involved. We also show you an example model of a borehole heat exchanger.

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Alexandra Foley | August 8, 2013

When pesticides are used in crops to control pests, their effects on the environment continue even after they have served their purpose. Pesticides can leach into the soil and water sources that both humans and animals depend on, spreading harmful chemicals to the surrounding ecosystem. Over time, their active ingredients are detoxified through different reactions that occur after their release, eventually degrading them into harmless products. Understanding the pesticide runoff patterns and mobility of various pesticides before and after they […]

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Alexandra Foley | July 23, 2013

There are many different forces that can induce flow in fluids, such as kinetic energy, pressure gradients, concentration gradients, and many more. In natural systems, one effect that can initiate fluid flow in a still fluid is a change in density. This density change will result in a change in the fluid’s buoyancy, thus inciting flow as the denser fluid sinks and the less dense, buoyant, fluid rises. You’re probably most familiar with these changes in density occurring due to […]

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Cinzia Iacovelli | April 5, 2013

Have you ever noticed how water can flow through rocks and leave a trace of its passage by covering the surface with a patina, like white stripes? The whole process is quite complex but can roughly be explained by breaking it down into two coupled effects: gravity and chemical reactions. Gravity causes the water to infiltrate through discrete fractures (hard rocks) or pores (sedimentary rocks), until it charges the groundwater supply below to a point where excess water will surface […]

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Andrew Griesmer | February 26, 2013

Metamaterials are a new and emerging technology with vast potential to reshape our views on what is and isn’t possible in this physical world of ours. Unlocking the mysteries and overcoming the obstacles associated with metamaterials would lead to a host of technological advances once thought impossible by even the most imaginative of individuals. From making computer chips smaller and faster than the most advanced current ones, to protecting structures from earthquakes, to developing imaging technology that doesn’t harm tissue […]

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Fanny Littmarck | October 24, 2012

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of guesswork involved in oil production. Oil companies make “Big Money” decisions based on estimates – estimates with huge margins of error. What’s more, there is an incredible amount of risk involved, but with the potential for a large pay-off if all goes according to plan. The plan is based on “best guesses” and less than perfect data. Still, there are many big players in the oil industry that are doing very well […]

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Phil Kinnane | July 17, 2012

Düsensauginfiltration (DSI) is a novel technique for lowering water levels at mining and construction sites while not actually having to transport the water away from these sites. This came to my attention at the latest COMSOL Conference in Stuttgart. There, Ph.D. student Yulan Jin and Assistant Professor Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher from the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany was presenting their research into this groundwater lowering technique.

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