Digital Repository, ICF12, Ottawa 2009

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Basalt Columns and Crack Formation during Directional Drying of Colloidal Suspensions in Capillary Tubes
V. Lazarus, G. Gauthier, L. Pauchard, C. Maurini, C. Valdivia

Last modified: 2013-05-06


Formation of basalt columns during cooling of lava may be modeled
by the drying of colloidal silica suspension confined in capillary cells (Allain and
Limat 1995, Gauthier et al. 2007). During the drying process, particles aggregate
at the open edge forming a growing drained gelled porous medium. High
negative capillary pressure in the draining fluid (Dufresne et al., 2003) and adhesion
to the walls of the cells generates high tensile stresses in the gel leading to
crack formation. Depending on the experimental conditions and the shape of the
cell (rectangular or circular), several crack morphologies appear. Here the aim
is to compare the experimental morphologies with the ones predicted by fracture
mechanics. For this purpose, the drained gelled porous medium is modeled by a
linear elastic medium subjected to tensile prestresses and the cracks by the variational
approach to fracture of Bourdin, Francfort and Marigo (1998, 2000, 2008).

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