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Title: Uniaxial creep as a control on mercury intrusion capillary pressure in consolidating rock salt

The nature of geologic disposal of nuclear waste in salt formations requires validated and verified two - phase flow models of transport of brine and gas through intact, damaged, and consolidating crushed salt. Such models exist in oth er realms of subsurface engineering for other lithologic classes (oil and gas, carbon sequestration etc. for clastics and carbonates) but have never been experimentally validated and parameterized for salt repository scenarios or performance assessment. Mo dels for waste release scenarios in salt back - fill require phenomenological expressions for capillary pressure and relative permeability that are expected to change with degree of consolidation, and require experimental measurement to parameterize and vali date. This report describes a preliminary assessment of the influence of consolidation (i.e. volume strain or porosity) on capillary entry pressure in two phase systems using mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP). This is to both determine the potent ial usefulness of the mercury intrusion porosimetry method, but also to enable a better experimental design for these tests. Salt consolidation experiments are performed using novel titanium oedometers, or uniaxial compression cells often used in soil mech anics, using sieved run - of - mine salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)more » as starting material. Twelve tests are performed with various starting amounts of brine pore saturation, with axial stresses up to 6.2 MPa (%7E900 psi) and temperatures to 90 o C. This corresponds to UFD Work Package 15SN08180211 milestone "FY:15 Transport Properties of Run - of - Mine Salt Backfill - Unconsolidated to Consolidated". Samples exposed to uniaxial compression undergo time - dependent consolidation, or creep, to various deg rees. Creep volume strain - time relations obey simple log - time behavior through the range of porosities (%7E50 to 2% as measured); creep strain rate increases with temperature and applied stress as expected. Mercury porosimetry is used to determine characteri stic capillary pressure curves from a series of consolidation tests and show characteristic saturation - capillary pressure curves that follow the common van Genuchten (1978, 1980) formulation at low stresses. Higher capillary pressure data are suspect due t o the large potential for sample damage, including fluid inclusion decrepitation and pore collapse. Data are supportive of use of the Leverett "J" function (Leverett, 1941) to use for scaling characteristic curves at different degrees of consolidation, but better permeability determinations are needed to support this hypothesis. Recommendations for further and refined testing are made with the goal of developing a self - consistent set of constitutive laws for granular salt consolidation and multiphase (brin e - air) flow.« less
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  1. Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States