red sandstone in Antelope Canyon

Geomechanics & Geophysics for Energy and the Environment

Duke's Geomechanics and Geophysics for Energy and the Environment research group bridges the gap between geology and geophysics. It seeks to understand and address issues related to underground engineering, the exploration of oil, gas, methane hydrates, and more—as well as resource use and environmental hazards.

Hazards we address include earthquakes, sinkholes, desiccation soil cracking, material degradation, geostructure degradation, landslides and mudslides. We use geomechanics principles to assess wellbore stability, reservoir properties, nuclear waste geological disposal, landslide stability and hydraulic stimulations, including hydraulic fracking.

Casey Rubin demonstrating apparatus

Research Areas

  • Chemo-mechanical couplings in geomaterials
  • Thermo-plasticity of soils and rocks
  • Long-term multi-physics aspects of resilience of geo-structures
  • Multi-physics of geological nuclear waste isolation
  • Evaporation, drying and cracking of geomaterials
  • Multi-physics aspects for friction laws
  • Stability and bifurcation of multiphysical systems
  • Computational geomechanics
  • Non-invasive geophysical characterization of earth subsurface for engineering, energy and environmental applications
  • Subsurface contamination and related health issues
  • Stability of earth subsurface based on percolation theory
  • Multiscale analysis of porous materials
  • Stochastic modeling of heterogeneous materials
  • Uncertainty quantification for complex systems
Related Study Opportunities

PhD and Master of Science (MS)

Master of Engineering (MEng) in Civil Engineering

Undergraduate Research

Primary Faculty

Fred K. Boadu

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: How the engineering, environmental and petrophysical properties of porous media (soils, fractured rock, biological tissues) affect measurable geophysical responses, and subsequently develop methodologies by which these properties can be obtained from non-invasive geophysical…

Laura Elizabeth Dalton

Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: 4D Imaging; Carbon sequestration in porous materials; sustainable material development; structural integrity of carbon capture and storage wells; reactive transport in porous materials

Henri P. Gavin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, seismic hazard mitigation for building contents, nonlinear dynamics, system identification, optimal control with application to systems with controllable damping.

Johann Guilleminot

Paul Ruffin Scarborough Associate Professor of Engineering

Research Interests: Computational mechanics, mechanics of heterogeneous materials, molecular dynamics simulations and atomistic-to-continuum coupling, stochastic solvers, statistical inverse problem and model validation, stochastic analysis, uncertainty quantification in science and engineering

Guglielmo Scovazzi

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Finite element methods, computational fluid and solid mechanics, multiphase porous media flows, computational methods for fluid and solid materials under extreme load conditions, turbulent flow computations, instability phenomena.

Manolis Veveakis

Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Theoretical and applied mechanics, Geomechanics, Irreversible Thermodynamics. Emphasis on the multiphysical modelling of plasticity of solids, solid-fluid interactions, friction laws and rheology of geomaterials

Adjunct Faculty

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Lyesse Laloui

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Emeritus Faculty

Tomasz Hueckel

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Mechanics of materials, theoretical soil mechanics, rock mechanics, theory of plasticity, multi-physics processes in geomechanics, nuclear waste disposal, energy and environmental geomechanics.