Research on the deformation of a confined aquifer based on Cosserat continuum mechanics
- State Key Laboratory of Ocean Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
Abstract. Recent monitoring of land subsidence and soil deformation indicates a new phenomenon where excessive and continuous deformation occurs in the sandy aquifers in Shanghai and the Su-Xi-Chang region of China. It is hard to explain factors contributing to this phenomenon with traditional Cauchy continuum mechanics in which low normal stress in the ground could not cause such large deformation. Steep hydraulic gradient would be formed in the aquifer if groundwater is pumped from densely distributed wells, and shear stresses would develop then. Accumulated shear stress could then lead to deformation of the aquifer or even land subsidence. Accumulated shear stress due to the drawdown of groundwater level is one of the main factors that contribute to deformation within an aquifer. Traditional Cauchy continuum mechanics cannot consider this shear stress because of the hypothesis of equal shear stress in the aquifer unit. Cosserat continuum mechanics can be applied to analyse the mechanism of aquifer deformation controlled by accumulated shear stress by considering the scale effect and the asymmetric distribution of shear stress in the aquifer unit.