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Characterization of Pore Structure and Hydraulic Property Alteration in Pressurized Unsaturated Flow Tests

  • B. P. McGrail (a1), C. W. Lindenmeier (a1) and P. F. Martin (a1)


The pressurized unsaturated flow (PUF) test is a new experimental method for the evaluation of the long-term corrosion behavior of waste forms and other engineered barrier materials. Essentially, the technique provides a means to flow water through a porous bed of test material or materials at elevated temperature and under hydraulically unsaturated conditions. Bulk volumetric content, effluent pH and electrical conductivity are monitored in real time using a computer control and data acquisition system. In previous papers, we have reported on the changes in bulk water content, effluent chemistry, and glass corrosion rates that result from the formation of alteration products during these tests. These measurements are now supplemented through the use of the ultracentrifugation apparatus (UFA) for hydraulic property measurements and highresolution, x-ray microtomography (XMT) to provide 3-D spatial and temporal imaging of water distribution and pore structure alteration during these tests. Quantitative changes in the water retention characteristic were correlated with the onset of zeolite formation in the tests. Extensive alteration of the glass resulted in cementation of the glass grains near the bottom of the column, which was observed in situ using the XMT.



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1. McGrail, B. P., Lindenmeicin, C. W. Martin, P. F., and Gee, G. W.. 1997. “The Pressuried Unsaturated Flow (PUF) Test: A New Method for Engineered-Barrier Materials Evaluation.” In Transactions of the American Ceramic Society Vol. 72, Jain, V. and Peeler, D. K. (eds ), Colunmbus, Ohio.
2. McGrail, B. P., Martin, P. F., and Lindenmeier, C. W.. 1997, “Accelerated Testing of Waste Forms Using a Novel Pressurized Unsaturated Flow (PUF) Method.Mat Res, Soc. Symp. Proc. 465:253260.
3. McGrail, B. P., Martin, P. F., Lindenmeier, C. W., Schaet, H. T. 1998. Corosion Testing of low Activity Waste Glasses: Fiscal Year 1998 Sunmary Reportt PNNL-12014, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.
4. American Society for Testing and Materials. 1995. Standard Test Methods Ior Deternining Chemical Durabihi of Nucleari Waste Glassses: The Product Consistency Test (PCT). Standard C1285-94, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
5. McGiral, B. P., Ebert, W. L., Bakel, A. J., and Peeler, D. K.. 1997. “Measurement of Kinetic Rate Law Parameters on a Na-Ca-Al Borosilicate Glass for Low-Activity Waste.J. Nuc. Mat. 249: 175189.
6. Mualem, Y. 1976, “A New Model for Predicting the Htydraulic Conductsvity of Unsaturated Porous Media.Water Resour. Res. 12(3):513522.

Characterization of Pore Structure and Hydraulic Property Alteration in Pressurized Unsaturated Flow Tests

  • B. P. McGrail (a1), C. W. Lindenmeier (a1) and P. F. Martin (a1)


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