Development of K-Basin High-Strength Homogeneous Sludge Simulants and Correlations Between Unconfined Compressive Strength and Shear Strength

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K-Basin sludge will be stored in the Sludge Transport and Storage Containers (STSCs) at an interim storage location on Central Plateau before being treated and packaged for disposal. During the storage period, sludge in the STSCs may consolidate/agglomerate, potentially resulting in high-shear-strength material. The Sludge Treatment Project (STP) plans to use water jets to retrieve K-Basin sludge after the interim storage. STP has identified shear strength to be a key parameter that should be bounded to verify the operability and performance of sludge retrieval systems. Determining the range of sludge shear strength is important to gain high confidence that a ... continued below

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Onishi, Yasuo; Baer, Ellen BK; Chun, Jaehun; Yokuda, Satoru T.; Schmidt, Andrew J.; Sande, Susan et al. February 20, 2011.

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K-Basin sludge will be stored in the Sludge Transport and Storage Containers (STSCs) at an interim storage location on Central Plateau before being treated and packaged for disposal. During the storage period, sludge in the STSCs may consolidate/agglomerate, potentially resulting in high-shear-strength material. The Sludge Treatment Project (STP) plans to use water jets to retrieve K-Basin sludge after the interim storage. STP has identified shear strength to be a key parameter that should be bounded to verify the operability and performance of sludge retrieval systems. Determining the range of sludge shear strength is important to gain high confidence that a water-jet retrieval system can mobilize stored K-Basin sludge from the STSCs. The shear strength measurements will provide a basis for bounding sludge properties for mobilization and erosion. Thus, it is also important to develop potential simulants to investigate these phenomena. Long-term sludge storage tests conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) show that high-uranium-content K-Basin sludge can self-cement and form a strong sludge with a bulk shear strength of up to 65 kPa. Some of this sludge has 'paste' and 'chunks' with shear strengths of approximately 3-5 kPa and 380-770 kPa, respectively. High-uranium-content sludge samples subjected to hydrothermal testing (e.g., 185 C, 10 hours) have been observed to form agglomerates with a shear strength up to 170 kPa. These high values were estimated by measured unconfined compressive strength (UCS) obtained with a pocket penetrometer. Due to its ease of use, it is anticipated that a pocket penetrometer will be used to acquire additional shear strength data from archived K-Basin sludge samples stored at the PNNL Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL) hot cells. It is uncertain whether the pocket penetrometer provides accurate shear strength measurements of the material. To assess the bounding material strength and potential for erosion, it is important to compare the measured shear strength to penetrometer measurements and to develop a correlation (or correlations) between UCS measured by a pocket penetrometer and direct shear strength measurements for various homogeneous and heterogeneous simulants. This study developed 11 homogeneous simulants, whose shear strengths vary from 4 to 170 kPa. With these simulants, we developed correlations between UCS measured by a Geotest E-280 pocket penetrometer and shear strength values measured by a Geonor H-60 hand-held vane tester and a more sophisticated bench-top unit, the Haake M5 rheometer. This was achieved with side-by-side measurements of the shear strength and UCS of the homogeneous simulants. The homogeneous simulants developed under this study consist of kaolin clay, plaster of Paris, and amorphous alumina CP-5 with water. The simulants also include modeling clay. The shear strength of most of these simulants is sensitive to various factors, including the simulant size, the intensity of mixing, and the curing time, even with given concentrations of simulant components. Table S.1 summarizes these 11 simulants and their shear strengths.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-20048
  • Report No.: 53451-RPT14 Rev 0
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1027186 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1027186
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc838176

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  • February 20, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 3:37 p.m.

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Onishi, Yasuo; Baer, Ellen BK; Chun, Jaehun; Yokuda, Satoru T.; Schmidt, Andrew J.; Sande, Susan et al. Development of K-Basin High-Strength Homogeneous Sludge Simulants and Correlations Between Unconfined Compressive Strength and Shear Strength, report, February 20, 2011; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc838176/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.