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This content will become publicly available on March 27, 2019

Title: Micromechanical processes in consolidated granular salt

Here, granular salt is likely to be used as backfill material and a seal system component within geologic salt formations serving as a repository for long-term isolation of nuclear waste. Pressure from closure of the surrounding salt formation will promote consolidation of granular salt, eventually resulting in properties comparable to native salt. Understanding dependence of consolidation processes on stress state, moisture availability, temperature, and time is important for demonstrating sealing functions and long-term repository performance. This study characterizes laboratory-consolidated granular salt by means of microstructural observations. Granular salt material from mining operations was obtained from the bedded Salado Formation hosting the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the Avery Island salt dome. Laboratory test conditions included hydrostatic consolidation of jacketed granular salt with varying conditions of confining isochoric stress to 38 MPa, temperature to 250 °C, moisture additions of 1% by weight, time duration, and vented and non-vented states. Resultant porosities ranged between 1% and 22%. Optical and scanning electron microscopic techniques were used to ascertain consolidation mechanisms. From these investigations, samples with 1% added moisture or unvented during consolidation, exhibit clear pressure solution processes with tightly cohered grain boundaries and occluded fluid pores. Samples with only natural moisture content consolidatedmore » by a combination of brittle, cataclastic, and crystal plastic deformation. Recrystallization at 250 °C irrespective of moisture conditions was also observed. The range and variability of conditions applied in this study, combined with the techniques used to display microstructural features, are unique, and provide insight into an important area of governing deformation mechanism(s) occurring within salt repository applications.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States); Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  3. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-7952; 663802
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Engineering Geology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 239; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-7952
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; granular salt consolidation; deformation mechanism; microstructural investigations; geologic nuclear waste repository applications
OSTI Identifier: