Coupled flow and deformation fields due to a line load on a poroelastic half space: effect of surface stress and surface bending.Proc Math Phys Eng Sci. 2020 Jan; 476(2233):20190761.PM
In the past decade, many experiments have indicated that the surfaces of soft elastic solids can resist deformation by surface stresses. A common soft elastic solid is a hydrogel which consists of a polymer network swollen in water. Although experiments suggest that solvent flow in gels can be affected by surface stress, there is no theoretical analysis on this subject. Here we study the solvent flow near a line load acting on a linear poroelastic half space. The surface of this half space resists deformation by a constant, isotropic surface stress. It can also resist deformation by surface bending. The time-dependent displacement, stress and flow fields are determined using transform methods. Our solution indicates that the stress field underneath the line load is completely regularized by surface bending-it is bounded and continuous. For small surface bending stiffness, the line force is balanced by surface stresses; these forces form what is commonly known as 'Neumann's triangle'. We show that surface stress reduces local pore pressure and inhibits solvent flow. We use our line load solution to simulate the relaxation of the peak which is formed by applying and then removing a line force on the poroelastic half space.