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A coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical model of jointed hard rock for compressed air energy storage
(2014)

Renewable energy resources such as wind and solar are intermittent, which causes instability when being connected to utility grid of electricity. Compressed air energy storage (CAES) provides an economic and technical viable solution to this problem by utilizing subsurface rock cavern to store the electricity generated by renewable energy in the form of compressed air. Though CAES has been used for over three decades, it is only restricted to salt rock or aquifers for air tightness reason. In this paper, the technical feasibility of utilizing hard rock for CAES is investigated by using a coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) modelling of nonisothermal gas flow. Governing equations are derived from the rules of energy balance, mass balance, and static equilibrium. Cyclic volumetric mass source and heat source models are applied to simulate the gas injection and production. Evaluation is carried out for intact rock and rock with discrete crack, respectively. In both cases, the heat and pressure losses using air mass control and supplementary air injection are compared.

Explicit solutions for the cohesive energy between carbon nanotubes, graphene and substrates are obtained through continuum modeling of the van der Waals interaction between them. The dependence of the cohesive energy on their size, spacing and crossing angles is analyzed. Checking against full atom molecular dynamics calculations and available experimental results shows that the continuum solution has high accuracy. The equilibrium distances between the nanotubes, graphene and substrates with minimum cohesive energy are also provided explicitly. The obtained analytical solution should be of great help for understanding the interaction between the nanostructures and substrates, and designing composites and nanoelectromechanical systems.

An analytical molecular mechanics model for the elastic properties of crystalline polyethylene
(2012)

We present an analytical model to relate the elastic properties of crystalline polyethylene based on a molecular mechanics approach. Along the polymer chains direction, the united-atom (UA) CH2-CH2 bond stretching, angle bending potentials are replaced with equivalent Euler-Bernoulli beams. Between any two polymer chains, the explicit formulae are derived for the van der Waals interaction represented by the linear springs of different stiffness. Then, the nine independent elastic constants are evaluated systematically using the formulae. The analytical model is finally validated by present united-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and against available all-atom molecular dynamics results in the literature. The established analytical model provides an efficient route for mechanical characterization of crystalline polymers and related materials.

Tensile strain and compress strain can greatly affect the thermal conductivity of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs). However, the effect of GNRs under shear strain, which is also one of the main strain effect, has not been studied systematically yet. In this work, we employ reverse nonequilibrium molecular dynamics (RNEMD) to the systematical study of the thermal conductivity of GNRs (with model size of 4 nm × 15 nm) under the shear strain. Our studies show that the thermal conductivity of GNRs is not sensitive to the shear strain, and the thermal conductivity decreases only 12–16% before the pristine structure is broken. Furthermore, the phonon frequency and the change of the micro-structure of GNRs, such as band angel and bond length, are analyzed to explore the tendency of thermal conductivity. The results show that the main influence of shear strain is on the in-plane phonon density of states (PDOS), whose G band (higher frequency peaks) moved to the low frequency, thus the thermal conductivity is decreased. The unique thermal properties of GNRs under shear strains suggest their great potentials for graphene nanodevices and great potentials in the thermal managements and thermoelectric applications.

This paper presents a novel numerical procedure based on the combination of an edge-based smoothed finite element (ES-FEM) with a phantom-node method for 2D linear elastic fracture mechanics. In the standard phantom-node method, the cracks are formulated by adding phantom nodes, and the cracked element is replaced by two new superimposed elements. This approach is quite simple to implement into existing explicit finite element programs. The shape functions associated with discontinuous elements are similar to those of the standard finite elements, which leads to certain simplification with implementing in the existing codes. The phantom-node method allows modeling discontinuities at an arbitrary location in the mesh. The ES-FEM model owns a close-to-exact stiffness that is much softer than lower-order finite element methods (FEM). Taking advantage of both the ES-FEM and the phantom-node method, we introduce an edge-based strain smoothing technique for the phantom-node method. Numerical results show that the proposed method achieves high accuracy compared with the extended finite element method (XFEM) and other reference solutions.

This paper presents a novel numerical procedure based on the framework of isogeometric analysis for static, free vibration, and buckling analysis of laminated composite plates using the first-order shear deformation theory. The isogeometric approach utilizes non-uniform rational B-splines to implement for the quadratic, cubic, and quartic elements. Shear locking problem still exists in the stiffness formulation, and hence, it can be significantly alleviated by a stabilization technique. Several numerical examples are presented to show the performance of the method, and the results obtained are compared with other available ones.

A simple multiscale analysis framework for heterogeneous solids based on a computational homogenization technique is presented. The macroscopic strain is linked kinematically to the boundary displacement of a circular or spherical representative volume which contains the microscopic information of the material. The macroscopic stress is obtained from the energy principle between the macroscopic scale and the microscopic scale. This new method is applied to several standard examples to show its accuracy and consistency of the method proposed.

Meshfree methods (MMs) such as the element free Galerkin (EFG)method have gained popularity because of some advantages over other numerical methods such as the finite element method (FEM). A group of problems that have attracted a great deal of attention from the EFG method community includes the treatment of large deformations and dealing with strong discontinuities such as cracks. One efficient solution to model cracks is adding special enrichment functions to the standard shape functions such as extended FEM, within the FEM context, and the cracking particles method, based on EFG method. It is well known that explicit time integration in dynamic applications is conditionally stable. Furthermore, in enriched methods, the critical time step may tend to very small values leading to computationally expensive simulations. In this work, we study the stability of enriched MMs and propose two mass-lumping strategies. Then we show that the critical time step for enriched MMs based on lumped mass matrices is of the same order as the critical time step of MMs without enrichment. Moreover, we show that, in contrast to extended FEM, even with a consistent mass matrix, the critical time step does not vanish even when the crack directly crosses a node.

The concept of isogeometric analysis, where functions that are used to describe geometry in CAD software are used to approximate the unknown fields in numerical simulations, has received great attention in recent years. The method has the potential to have profound impact on engineering design, since the task of meshing, which in some cases can add significant overhead, has been circumvented. Much of the research effort has been focused on finite element implementations of the isogeometric concept, but at present, little has been seen on the application to the Boundary Element Method. The current paper proposes an Isogeometric Boundary Element Method (BEM), which we term IGABEM, applied to two-dimensional elastostatic problems using Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS). We find it is a natural fit with the isogeometric concept since both the NURBS approximation and BEM deal with quantities entirely on the boundary. The method is verified against analytical solutions where it is seen that superior accuracies are achieved over a conventional quadratic isoparametric BEM implementation.

Paraffin Nanocomposites for Heat Management of Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Computational Investigation
(2016)

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are currently considered as vital components for advances in mobile technologies such as those in communications and transport. Nonetheless, Li-ion batteries suffer from temperature rises which sometimes lead to operational damages or may even cause fire. An appropriate solution to control the temperature changes during the operation of Li-ion batteries is to embed batteries inside a paraffin matrix to absorb and dissipate heat. In the present work, we aimed to investigate the possibility of making paraffin nanocomposites for better heat management of a Li-ion battery pack. To fulfill this aim, heat generation during a battery charging/discharging cycles was simulated using Newman’s well established electrochemical pseudo-2D model. We couple this model to a 3D heat transfer model to predict the temperature evolution during the battery operation. In the later model, we considered different paraffin nanocomposites structures made by the addition of graphene, carbon nanotubes, and fullerene by assuming the same thermal conductivity for all fillers. This way, our results mainly correlate with the geometry of the fillers. Our results assess the degree of enhancement in heat dissipation of Li-ion batteries through the use of paraffin nanocomposites. Our results may be used as a guide for experimental set-ups to improve the heat management of Li-ion batteries.

This paper presents a novel numerical procedure for computing limit and shakedown loads of structures using a node-based smoothed FEM in combination with a primal–dual algorithm. An associated primal–dual form based on the von Mises yield criterion is adopted. The primal-dual algorithm together with a Newton-like iteration are then used to solve this associated primal–dual form to determine simultaneously both approximate upper and quasi-lower bounds of the plastic collapse limit and the shakedown limit. The present formulation uses only linear approximations and its implementation into finite element programs is quite simple. Several numerical examples are given to show the reliability, accuracy, and generality of the present formulation compared with other available methods.

This paper extends further the strain smoothing technique in finite elements to 8-noded hexahedral elements (CS-FEM-H8). The idea behind the present method is similar to the cell-based smoothed 4-noded quadrilateral finite elements (CS-FEM-Q4). In CSFEM, the smoothing domains are created based on elements, and each element can be further subdivided into 1 or several smoothing cells. It is observed that: 1) The CS-FEM using a single smoothing cell can produce higher stress accuracy, but insufficient rank and poor displacement accuracy; 2) The CS-FEM using several smoothing cells has proper rank, good displacement accuracy, but lower stress accuracy, especially for nearly incompressible and bending dominant problems. We therefore propose 1) an extension of strain smoothing to 8-noded hexahedral elements and 2) an alternative CS-FEM form, which associates the single smoothing cell issue with multi-smoothing cell one via a stabilization technique. Several numerical examples are provided to show the reliability and accuracy of the present formulation.

We present an extended finite element formulation for dynamic fracture of piezo-electric materials. The method is developed in the context of linear elastic fracture mechanics. It is applied to mode I and mixed mode-fracture for quasi-steady cracks. An implicit time integration scheme is exploited. The results are compared to results obtained with the boundary element method and show excellent agreement.