In 1923, Karl Terzaghi developed the theory of soil consolidation in which he introduced the concept of effective stress (ES). Over the past century, various theoretical aspects have been unraveled regarding the Effective Stress Principle (ESP) and the fluid–porous-medium interaction in deformable permeable media; nevertheless, some aspects have been debated for a long time, and some perplexities are still perceived among scientists and professionals. By way of example, in the study of flow in deformable permeable media, particularly in fractured porous systems, some problems are still open. This review is aimed at providing an overview of the progress achieved over the past century in the theoretical and experimental treatment of ESP—with particular reference to saturated porous media—and of the geomechanical aspects of fluid flow and fluid–rock interaction, trying to answer to some common questions among professionals, such as what is the correct expression for the ES to be used in applications and why there are various formulations? Additionally, we try to answer questions related to the modeling of fluid flow in fractured porous media. Therefore, this review paper is divided into two main sections, “Effective Stress Principle” and “Fluid Flow, Consolidation, and Fluid–Rock Interaction”. In the first section, the basic concepts and the theory underlying the ESP are preliminarily illustrated, with a simple but rigorous theoretical proof, and, subsequently, historical remarks are provided. The second illustrates the different adopted theoretical approaches to fluid flow, starting from Terzaghi’s theory of one-dimensional consolidation up to the recent dual- and multiple-porosity models.
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