Skip to content

GEOTECH/MAT/CONSTR/STRUCT Seminar: Bio-inspired Geomechanics, Chloé Arson, Georgia Institute of Technology

Date: Thursday, November 16

Time: 3:40 pm - 4:55 pm

Location: 405 John D. Tickle Building


Theoretical geomechanics is at the intersection between solid mechanics, poro-mechanics, physics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, chemistry, applied mathematics, computational mechanics and even biology. In this lecture, we explain how theoretical geomechanics can inform and be informed by biology. We first present a mathematical model that allows predicting tooth mechanical properties based on homogenization theories employed in poro-mechanics, on statistical image analyses and mechanical tests performed on actual biological tissues. We then explain why some rocks, just like tissues or metals can self-heal. We take the example of salt rock to show how continuum damage mechanics of porous media can be coupled to thermodynamic models that explain crack rebonding and materials mechanical recovery. Finally, we investigate network dynamics in porous media, in which fluid flow changes the morphology and connectivity of the pore space. Astonishing similarities were noted between the geometry of networks formed by living organisms (e.g. roots, slime mold) and that of infrastructure facilities (e.g. railway systems). Therefore we hypothesize that natural systems can be emulated to understand flow network formation and evolution in a porous geomaterial subject to damage and healing. We present preliminary work done on root system architecture, leaf venation topology and slime mold networks. We conclude by raising a few fundamental research questions: What fracture network topology optimizes fluid flow in a rock mass? Do networks morph towards asymptotic topologies if subjected to steady or cyclic flow?


Dr. Chloé Arson is an Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned a Master of Science in soil and rock mechanics (2006) and a Ph.D. in geomechanics (2009) at Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech (France). After being a faculty at Texas A&M University, she joined Georgia Tech in 2012. She teaches Mechanics of Materials, Finite Element Methods and Tunneling. Dr. Arson is a theoretical and numerical expert in damage and healing rock mechanics, thermo-chemo-poromechanics, underground storage and bio-inspired subsurface networks. She regularly gives lectures in Europe and the U.S., organizes sponsored research workshops, and serves as a reviewer for more than 30 journals. At Georgia Tech, she leads the ‘Bio-inspired network dynamics and geomechanics’ undergraduate laboratory and organizes cross-disciplinary workshops with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Public Policy. Dr. Arson received two PhD research prizes in 2010 and the NSF CAREER award in 2016.


Loading Map....

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier