Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Thermo-Mechanical Properties for Nano-Geocomposite

  • Zarghaam Haider RizviEmail author
  • Katrin Sembdner
  • Akash Suman
  • Melpatti Jothiappan Giri Prasad
  • Frank Wuttke


Heat transfer in dry granular material is dominated by conduction among the grains. The quality and quantity of the contact dictate the preferred heat path. Owing to the high thermal conductivity and considerable mechanical strength, nanomaterials are suitable to improve the contact by filling inter- and intra-granular pores. A thermo-mechanical study with 0–5 weight percentage of 63 nm and 125 nm silicon carbide (SiC)/sand mixtures has been conducted. A numerical model based on a modified effective-medium approximation considering the effective mean free path is implemented in the lattice element method with gas theory to predict the ETC of the mixtures. The numerical modeling and experimental results showed satisfactory agreement to a large extent. To test the mechanical stability of the developed mix, direct shear test and consolidation tests have been performed on the nano-geomixture to observe changes in the mechanical strength due to a powder-like appearance of SiC. No significant reduction in strength and settlement behavior of the mixture has been reported. The developed nanocomposite could be used in energy geotechnics application.


Effective thermal conductivity Energy geotechnics Lattice element method Nanocomposite Numerical modeling 

List of Symbols


Total contact conductivity (W·m−1·K−1)


Granular conductivity (W·m−1·K−1)


Nanoparticle conductivity (W·m−1·K−1)


Volumetric heat capacity per unit energy (J·m−3·K−1)


Group velocity (m·s−1)


Mean free path of the charge carriers (electrons or phonons) (m)


Effective mean free path (m)


Mean free path associated with the carrier-to-carrier scattering (m)


Mean free path associated with the boundary collisions, m


Collision cross section between the particle and the charge carrier (m2)


Concentration of particle (m−3)


Distance travelled by the charge carriers (m)


Mean free path due to particle addition (m)


Effective area of collision per unit volume for each particle (m−1)


Bulk thermal conductivity of the grain (W·m−1·K−1)


Effective mean free path of the charge carriers inside the particle, (m)


Mean free path due to carrier-to-carrier scattering within the particle (m)


Average distance travelled by the charge carriers inside the particle (m)


Bulk thermal conductivity of the particle (W·m−1·K−1)

Greek Symbols


Volume fraction




Friction angle



This research project is financially supported by the research Grant 03G0866B (GeoMInt) provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany. We would like to thanks Dr. Y.K. Mishra, Technical Faculty, Kiel University, for providing SEM images.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for GeosciencesKiel UniversityKielGermany

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