Discontinuous Galerkin finite element solution for poromechanics

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Liu, Ruijie

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This dissertation focuses on applying discontinuous Galerkin (DG) methods to poromechanics problems. A few challenges have been presented in traditional and popular continuous Galerkin (CG) finite element methods for solving complex coupled thermal, flow and solid mechanics. For example, nonphysical pore pressure oscillations often occur in CG solutions for poroelasticity problems with low permeability. A robust and practical numerical scheme for removing or alleviating the oscillation is not available. In modeling thermoporoelastoplasticity, CG methods require the use of very small time steps to obtain a convergent solution. The temperature profile predicted by CG methods in the fine mesh zones is often seriously polluted by large errors produced in coarse mesh zones in the case where the convection dominates the thermal process. The nonphysical oscillations in pore pressure and temperature solutions induced by CG methods at very early time stages seriously corrupt the solutions at longer time. We propose DG methods to handle these challenges because they are physics driven, provide local conservation of mass and momentum, have high stability and robustness, are locking-free, and because of their meshing and implementation capabilities. We first apply a family of DG methods, including Oden-Babuska-Baumann (OBB), Nonsymmetric Interior Penalty Galerkin (NIPG), Symmetric Interior Penalty Galerkin (SIPG) and Incomplete Interior Penalty Galerkin (IIPG), to 3D linear elasticity problems. This family of DG methods is tested and evaluated by using a cantilever beam problem with nearly incompressible materials. It is shown that DG methods are simple, robust and locking-free in dealing with nearly incompressible materials. Based on the success of DG methods in elasticity, we extend the DG theory into plasticity problems. A DG formulation has been implemented for solving 3D poroelasticity problems with low permeability. Numerical examples solved by DG methods demonstrate that the nonphysical pore pressure oscillation can be avoided. Finally, we apply DG schemes to thermoporoelastoplasticity problems, which are of high nonlinearity. Excellent performance of DG methods in avoiding nonphysical pressure and temperature oscillations and in blocking error propagation from coarse mesh zones into fine mesh zones is clearly observed.