School of Mathematics and Statistics

Postgraduate research

Research being undertaken by our current postgraduates:


Martin Paesold

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3364
Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1028


Start date

Apr 2012

Submission date

Apr 2015

Martin Paesold


Non-equilibrium thermodynamics of folding in geomaterials


For the efficient exploration, management and production of natural resources it is important to understand the formation of resource deposits thoroughly. Our work treats the forming resource deposit as a dynamical system and focuses particularly on folding since the concentration of minerals is related to these folds.

In geosciences, the most accepted theory to describe folding is Biot's theory. This theory predicts an exponential growth of a certain wavelength under external loading and this dominant wavelength depends on material properties. In contrast to the features that are found in nature, Biot's theory predicts solely sinusoidal solutions and neglects the non-equilibrium aspects of folding.

Our work incorporates non-equilibrium aspects. Recent advances combined multi-process physics with large deformations of materials and used the finite element method to describe the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of folding in geomaterials. Based on these simulations, the key processes that govern the overall folding dynamics of geomaterials can be identified and analyzed with standard tools from bifurcation theory.

Why my research is important

Non-equilibrium thermodynamics describes physical systems far from equilibrium, i.e. systems that undergo rapid changes. In this project we apply non-equilibrium thermodynamics to the formation of resource deposits such as iron ore or gold deposits and seek to understand the factors that influence the formation of resource deposits. On the one hand, this gives means to validate computer simulations of systems far from equilibrium and quantify the uncertainty in these simulations. This is important if predictions are made based on computer simulations. On the other hand, this would help during the exploration, management and production of resource deposits. This has great economic importance as, for example, the cost of exploration could be reduced dramatically if resource deposits could be explored in a more systematic manner.


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Statistics clinic

Assistance in statistics is available for Postgraduates students by research at the UWA Centre for Applied Statistics.


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Monday, 16 June, 2014 2:41 PM