EVASAL: Environmental applications of evaporative salt precipitation in porous media: numerical modeling and experimental investigations

Research Project funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Project description

Understanding saline water evaporation processes is important for a wide range of applications in many fields of research. In an agricultural and environmental context, salt recycling processes may occur during irrigation periods, which can lead to excess accumulation of solutes and the salinization of soil and groundwater. Accumulation of salt in soil adversely hinders plant growth, vegetation and crop production and is considered the most widespread soil degradation processes in the world. Further, the evaporation of saline water has been recognized as the main reason of salt build-up leading to the damage of many constructions and alteration of cultural monuments. Salt crystallization, resulting from saline water evaporation, occurs when the concentration of the salt dissolved in the pore water reaches a saturated concentration. Many monuments have been altered because of the salt crystallization such as the monuments in the archeological site in Cartago in Tunis. This project focuses on the evaporative salinization in porous media, a research topic of worldwide importance. In the framework of this project, we will focus on developing a predictive simulation tool which can be used for both scientific research purposes and for environmental and civil engineering applications. The focus of this project is split into two application areas. First, we will investigate soil and groundwater salinization influenced by salt recycling due to irrigation practices in an arid Tunisian area.

Second, we focus on understanding the influence of evaporative salt precipitation on the alteration and damage of monuments in archaeological sites in Tunisia.

Project leaders

Dr.-Eng. Emna Mejri
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Helmig

Research assistants

Safa Maiza (M.Sc.) 
Aroua Mannai (M.Sc.)
Nesrine Zemni (M.Sc.)


03/2019 - 12/2021

Cooperation partners

Prof. Rachida Bouhlila, National Engineering School of Tunis (ENIT)
Dr. Johannes Hommel, IWS, University of Stuttgart
Dr. Nima Shokri, University of Manchester
Prof. Dr. Sander Huismann, Research center of Jülich
Ass. Prof. Brahim Askri, Department of Civil Engineering, National Engineering School of Gabes



This image shows Rainer Helmig

Rainer Helmig

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. h.c.


This image shows Emna  Mejri

Emna Mejri


Coordinator of the DAAD Project "EVASAL"

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