Preferential flow paths and heat pipes: Results from laboratory experiments on heat-driven flow in natural and artificial rock fractures

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Water flow in fractures under the conditions of partial saturation and thermal drive may lead to fast flow along preferential localized pathways and heat pipe conditions. Water flowing in fast pathways may ultimately contact waste packages at Yucca Mountain and transport radionuclides to the accessible environment. Sixteen experiments were conducted to visualize liquid flow in glass fracture models, a transparent epoxy fracture replica, and a rock/replica fracture assembly. Spatially resolved thermal monitoring was performed in seven of these experiments to evaluate heat-pipe formation. Depending on the fracture apertures and flow conditions, various flow regimes were observed including continuous rivulet flow ... continued below

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51 p.

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Kneafsey, T.J. & Pruess, K. June 1, 1997.

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Description

Water flow in fractures under the conditions of partial saturation and thermal drive may lead to fast flow along preferential localized pathways and heat pipe conditions. Water flowing in fast pathways may ultimately contact waste packages at Yucca Mountain and transport radionuclides to the accessible environment. Sixteen experiments were conducted to visualize liquid flow in glass fracture models, a transparent epoxy fracture replica, and a rock/replica fracture assembly. Spatially resolved thermal monitoring was performed in seven of these experiments to evaluate heat-pipe formation. Depending on the fracture apertures and flow conditions, various flow regimes were observed including continuous rivulet flow for high flow rates, intermittent rivulet flow and drop flow for intermediate flow rates, and film flow for low flow rates and wide apertures. These flow regimes were present in both fracture models and in the replica of a natural fracture. Heat-pipe conditions indicated by low thermal gradients were observed in five experiments. Conditions conducive to heat-pipe formation include an evaporation zone, condensation zone, adequate space for vapor and liquid to travel, and appropriate fluid driving forces. In one of the two experiments where heat pipe conditions were not observed, adequate space for liquid-vapor counterflow was not provided. Heat pipe conditions were not established in the other, because liquid flow was inadequate to compensate for imbibition and the quantity of heat contained within the rock.

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51 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE97008860

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  • Other Information: PBD: Jun 1997

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  • Other: DE97008860
  • Report No.: LBNL--40467
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/527417 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 527417
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc694673

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • May 18, 2016, 5:52 p.m.

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Kneafsey, T.J. & Pruess, K. Preferential flow paths and heat pipes: Results from laboratory experiments on heat-driven flow in natural and artificial rock fractures, report, June 1, 1997; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc694673/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.