Fluid-solid interactions (FSI)
This research theme is at the forefront of scientific developments and is synergetic to various application areas, e.g. hydraulic fracturing for geothermal applications, elasto-capillarity for inkjet printing processes and contamination control in photo-lithography machines
Heat from hot underground rock layers is a vast sustainable energy source for both urban heat delivery and, at higher temperatures, for power-heat applications. Typical geothermal systems rely on local (or connate) water in hot porous rock layers that is extracted through one producer well. However, continuous circulation of injected water through so-called hot dry rock (HDR) via injector and producer wells admits more sustainable operation. Key problem in this approach is “short-circuiting” of the water flow and, inherently, breakdown of heat recovery because of large fractures in the HDR. Research aims at resolving this issue by tailoring the fracture network in the HDR for maximum heat recovery. This can be accomplished by combination of hydraulic fracturing and selective blocking of large fractures via water-borne additives. To this end fundamental challenges in fracture mechanics, transport and deposition of additives and (convective) heat transfer must be tackled.