Research Focus

Research focus of the chair for Geomechanics and multiphysics Systems is characterized by works dealing with the coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical (THMC) behaviour of underground excavations. Hereby of particular significance are investigations into the safety case, the integrity and the load bearing behaviour of repositories for radioactive waste disposal, underground waste disposal facilities for thermotoxic waste and underground energy storage sites. Important elements of investigations into the safety case and load bearing behaviour are given by laboratory tests to determine the thermomechanical-hydraulic coupled material behaviour of the rock mass (rock salt, claystone, crystalline) considering varying impacts as well as evolution, verification and validation of constitutive models used to image the static stability, tightness und integrity of underground excavations in space and time.

Leading research projects:

  • load bearing behaviour of underground excavations (salt cavities, repositories, underground waste disposal facilities, tunnel, underground pump storage stations, mining excavations)
  • laboratory investigations (hard rock, waste, backfill)
  • evolution of constitutive models (coupled thermal-mechanical-hydraulic-chemical processes)
  • evolution of software for numerical modelling (FEM, FDM)
  • evolution of design and safety concepts
  • geotechnical safety analysis for underground excavations

Working Committees

Collaboration with Working Committee 3.8 of the German Geotechnical Society - named "Geotechnics in Final Storage of Radioactive Waste"

The WC 3.8 is concerned with the development of recommendations regarding rock mechanical and hydraulically issues of final disposal of heat generating waste. The recommendations shall represent the state of the art and science in case of underground disposal of radioactive waste in deep geological formations. Development of the recommendations is aimed to be chronologically in line with the German location-selection-process ("Standortauswahlverfahren").

12 members and permanent guests are currently involved into the preparation of recommendation E1, named "Methodical procedure to assess the integrity of the geological barrier systems of final disposal facilities for heat generating waste".

Members of the Working Committee:

Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE), Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal Technology (BGE Technology), Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources (BGR), Company for safety of facilities and reactors (GRS), Institute of Geomechanics (IfG), ILF Consulting Engineers, Mining Authority Lower Saxony (LBEG), Technical University Freiberg, Technical University Braunschweig, Clausthal University of Technology.

Collaboration with Working Committee 3.1 of the German Geotechnical Society - named "Salt Mechanics"

The WC 3.1 is concerned with the development of recommendations regarding planning and construction of geotechnical barrier systems for underground disposal facilities for chemo toxic waste.

Members of the Working Committee are representatives of industry (K+S Kali, SOCON, IfG), representatives of public authorities (LBEG, BGR) and representatives of research facilities (GRS, TU Freiberg, TU Clausthal).

Collaboration with Working Committee "Concrete Corrosion" of the German Society for Research in Final Disposal

The WC is currently concerned with the development of recommendations regarding the state of the art and science in the field of thermal-hydraulically-mechanical-chemical  (THMC) properties of salt concrete and sorel concrete for plugs and seals. Current working members are BGE, CSD, GRS, KIT, MPA, TUBAF and TUC.