Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard Regueiro

Second Advisor

Jianliang Xiao

Third Advisor

Joseph E. Bishop


Fractures involving poromechanical fluid flow are known to exhibit a strong coupling between the behavior of the solid skeleton and the pore fluid. Though there are other ways to model this poromechanical coupling, in this thesis, fractures are modeled discretely using a quadratic, 6-noded, poromechanical cohesive surface element (CSE). The CSE has specialized behavior in both the way that fluid flow and solid mechanics are modeled. The mechanical behavior of the CSE, when activated, will go through various stages as the fracture occurs. Further, the CSE models fluid flow along the fracture (longitudinal flow) as well as fluid flow exchange between the bulk porous material and cohesive surface element (transverse flow). Specialized tools are developed using MATLAB's object oriented functionality to allow for rapid generation of meshes and the associated initial conditions/boundary conditions. These tools also allow the mesh to be plotted and updated as the solution progresses. Example problems are presented to demonstrate the behavior of the poromechanical CSE as well as the close hydromechanical coupling.