A Coupled Chemo-Mechanical Analysis of the Dissolution-Dominated Sinkholes

Conference paper
Part of the Sustainable Civil Infrastructures book series (SUCI)


Sinkholes pose a major threat to public safety and infrastructure. They can develop via a cluster of inter-related processes, including bedrock dissolution, rock collapse, soil washing and soil collapse. The dominant mechanism behind sinkholes formed in rocks is the dissolution of soluble rocks. Dissolution process may be enhanced by potentially aggressive groundwater acidity and the presence of caves or fissures. This paper presents a coupled chemo-mechanical approach to understanding the interaction of chemical reaction and mechanical deformation processes involved in sinkhole development. Dissolution kinetics and enhanced deformation processes are investigated. Specific solution rate of the constituent mineral and the surface area available for the reaction are related via a chemo-mechanical coupling with the consideration of the damage-enhanced dissolution mechanism. Another important coupling investigated is the potential weakening of rock materials due to dissolution. Kinetic rates of different minerals are surveyed and used to examine the dissolution enhanced deformation. Boundary value problems are formulated around the cavity to simulate the progression of mineral dissolution and plastic deformation.


Sinkhole Formation Soil Collapse Specific Solution Rate Rock Collapse Kinetic Dissolution Rate 
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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA

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