Multiphysical Geomechanics at CU Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder

Yida Zhang


Our task is to decode the mechanical and physical behaviors of geomaterials through microscale observations and upscaling. We are specifically interested in understanding the fabric and grainsize dynamics of granular materials during deformation, crushing, internal erosion and other processes. We also study the adsorption and deformation coupling of micro- and meso- porous media.


We leverage advanced theoretical and computational tools combined with experimental validations to investigate the mechanics of granular and porous materials at various time and length scales.


yida zhang multi-physical geomechanics image


We offer continuum theories that can model the co-evolution of stress, strain, grainsize and fabric of granular materials subjected to mechanical or multiphysical excitations. Based on this, numerical tools are developed for evaluating the performance of geotechnical and geological structures. Surface thermodynamics are combined with classical poromechanics to predict the adsorption-induced swelling of porous materials.


Our research aims to impact the understanding and the engineering of: (i) geotechnical structures involving granular soils subjected to long-term, high-pressure, multiphysical operation conditions (e.g., rockfill dams, tailings dams, driven piles), (ii) geological processes involving sedimentation, consolidation, cataclasis and pressure solution of minerals, (iii) drying shrinkage and adsorption swelling of natural and engineered porous materials including coal, clay and concrete.

Core competencies

  • Continuum thermodynamics, breakage mechanics, surface poromechanics
  • Discrete element simulation (DEM) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • High-pressure and high-temperature testing on material REVs

Current members

  • Xiang Zhou (Ph.D. student)
  • Mitul Sisodiya (Ph.D. student)
  • Yuxuan Wen (Ph.D. student)
  • Mehdi Eskandari-Ghadi (Ph.D. student)
  • Shubjot Singh (M.S. student)

Recent graduates

  • Joon Soo Park (M.S. student)
  • Andrew Joseph Philpott (M.S. student)
  • Rebecca Scheetz (M.S. student)

Funding Agencies

  • DOE, NNSA, ASC, industry sponsors