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Evidence for gas-induced pathways in clay using a nanoparticle injection technique

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2018

J. F. Harrington
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
A. E. Milodowski
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
C. C. Graham
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
J. C. Rushton
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
R. J. Cuss
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

Corrosion, water radiolysis and microbial degradation will result in the generation of gas within repositories designed for the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste. It is therefore crucial in the design of such facilities that the relevant mechanisms allowing gas migration through repository materials, both engineered barriers and clay-based candidate host rocks, are correctly identified. In Belgium, the Boom Clay represents a candidate host material for which the advective gas breakthrough characteristics and transport properties have been extensively tested and are well defined by numerous studies. The Boom Clay displays a significant capacity for self-sealing and both laboratory and field tests indicate that advective gas transport occurs not by visco-capillary flow, but instead through the formation of pressure-induced dilatant pathways. In this study, we present results from a gas injection test designed to demonstrate the presence of these features by injecting nanoparticulate tracers with helium gas into a sample of Boom Clay. The results provide conclusive evidence for the formation of transient, dilatant gas pathways within a candidate clay-based host rock. This technique provides a novel diagnostic tool for the identification of processes governing multi-phase flow, supporting robust long-term assessments of repository performance.

Type
Research Article
Creative Commons
© [2012] The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2012

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