A multiscale framework for the simulation of the anisotropic mechanical behavior of shale

Weixin Li, Roozbeh Rezakhani*, Congrui Jin, Xinwei Zhou, Gianluca Cusatis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Shale, like many other sedimentary rocks, is typically heterogeneous and anisotropic and is characterized by partial alignment of anisotropic clay minerals and naturally formed bedding planes. In this study, a micromechanical framework based on the lattice discrete particle model is formulated to capture these features. Material anisotropy is introduced through an approximated geometric description of shale internal structure, which includes representation of material property variation with orientation and explicit modeling of parallel lamination. The model is calibrated by carrying out numerical simulations to match various experimental data, including the ones relevant to elastic properties, Brazilian tensile strength, and unconfined compressive strength. Furthermore, parametric study is performed to investigate the relationship between the mesoscale parameters and the macroscopic properties. It is shown that the dependence of the elastic stiffness, strength, and failure mode on loading orientation can be captured successfully. Finally, a homogenization approach based on the asymptotic expansion of field variables is applied to upscale the proposed micromechanical model, and the properties of the homogenized model are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1494-1522
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 10 2017


  • anisotropy
  • discrete model
  • homogenization
  • laminated shale
  • layered media
  • multiscale modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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