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Release of Colloids from Injection Grout Silica Sol

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

Pirkko L Hölttä
Affiliation:
pirkko.holtta@helsinki.fi, University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Radiochemistry, Helsinki, Finland
Martti Hakanen
Affiliation:
martti.hakanen@helsinki.fi, University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Radiochemistry, Helsinki, Finland
Mari Lahtinen
Affiliation:
mari.lahtinen@helsinki.fi, University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Radiochemistry, Helsinki, Finland
Anumaija Leskinen
Affiliation:
anumaija.leskinen@helsinki.fi, University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Radiochemistry, Helsinki, Finland
Jukka Lehto
Affiliation:
jukka.lehto@helsinki.fi, University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Radiochemistry, Helsinki, Finland
Piia Juhola
Affiliation:
piia.juhola@posiva.fi, Posiva Oy, Eurajoki, Finland
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Abstract

Non-cementitious grouts have been tested in Olkiluoto for the sealing of fractures with the small hydraulic aperture. A promising non-cementitious inorganic grout material for sealing the fractures of the apertures less than 0.05 mm is commercial colloidal silica called silica sol. The use of colloidal material has to be considered in the long-term safety assessment of a spent nuclear fuel repository. Objective of this work was to determine colloid release from the silica sol gel and stability of silica colloids in different groundwater conditions. To use silica sol as a grout, the injected colloids have to aggregate and form a gel within a predictable time by using a saline solution as an accelerator. Silica sol gel samples were stored in contact with medium salinity and low salinity groundwater simulates. Release of silica colloids and colloid stability was followed by analyzing the colloid concentration, particle size distribution, concentration of reactive silicon, solution pH and zeta potential after one month, half a year and one year. Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS equipment was used to determine colloidal particle size distributions applying the dynamic light scattering method and zeta potential based on dynamic electrophoretic mobility. The colloidal particle concentration was estimated from Zetasizer measurements applying a standard series. Dissolved reactive silica concentration was determined using the molybdate blue method and total silica concentrations were determined using ICP–MS. The release and stability of silica colloids were found to be dependent significantly on groundwater salinity. Zeta potential values near zero and the increase in particle size at first and then the disappearance of large particles indicated particle flocculation or coagulation and instable colloidal dispersion in a saline groundwater simulate. In low salinity ground water simulate high negative zeta potential values, small particle size and constant size distribution indicate the existence of stable silica colloids. The concentrations of the released colloids were slightly higher than determined in natural granitic ground waters. Under prevailing saline groundwater conditions in Olkiluoto no significant release of colloids from silica sol is expected but the possible influence of low salinity glacial melt waters has to be considered.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2009

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