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Permeameter studies of water flow through cement and clay borehole seals in granite, basalt and tuff

Description: Boreholes near a repository must be sealed to prevent rapid migration of radionuclide-contaminated water to the accessible environment. The objective of this research is to assess the performance of borehole seals under laboratory conditions, particularly with regard to varying stress fields. Flow through a sealed borehole is compared with flow through intact rock. Cement or bentonite seals have been tested in granite, basalt, and welded tuff. The main conclusion is that under laboratory conditions, existing commercial materials can form high quality seals. Triaxial stress changes about a borehole do not significantly affect seal performance if the rock is stiffer than the seal. Temperature but especially moisture variations (drying) significantly degrade the quality of cement seals. Performance partially recovers upon resaturation. A skillfully sealed borehole may be as impermeable as the host rock. Analysis of the influence of relative seal-rock permeabilities shows that a plug with permeability one order of magnitude greater than that of the rock results in a flow increase through the hole and surrounding rock of only 1-1/2 times compared to the undisturbed rock. Since a borehole is only a small part of the total rock mass, the total effect is even less pronounced. The simplest and most effective way to decrease flow through a rock-seal system is to increase the seal length, assuming it can be guaranteed that no dominant by-pass flowpath through the rock exists.
Date: October 1, 1986
Creator: South, D.L. & Daemen, J.J.K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Borehole stability in densely welded tuffs

Description: The stability of boreholes, or more generally of underground openings (i.e. including shafts, ramps, drifts, tunnels, etc.) at locations where seals or plugs are to be placed is an important consideration in seal design for a repository (Juhlin and Sandstedt, 1989). Borehole instability or borehole breakouts induced by stress redistribution could negate the effectiveness of seals or plugs. Breakout fractures along the wall of repository excavations or exploratory holes could provide a preferential flowpath for groundwater or gaseous radionuclides to bypass the plugs. After plug installation, swelling pressures exerted by a plug could induce radial cracks or could open or widen preexisting cracks in the rock at the bottom of the breakouts where the tangential compressive stresses have been released by the breakout process. The purpose of the work reported here is to determine experimentally the stability of a circular hole in a welded tuff sample subjected to various external boundary loads. Triaxial and biaxial borehole stability tests have been performed on densely welded Apache Leap tuff samples and Topopah Spring tuff samples. The nominal diameter of the test hole is 13.3 or 14.4 mm for triaxial testing, and 25.4 mm for biaxial testing. The borehole axis is parallel to one of the principal stress axes. The boreholes are drilled through the samples prior to applying external boundary loads. The boundary loads are progressively increased until breakouts occur or until the maximum load capacity of the loading system has been reached. 74 refs.
Date: July 1, 1992
Creator: Fuenkajorn, K. & Daemen, J.J.K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sealing performance of bentonite and bentonite/crushed rock borehole plugs

Description: This study includes a systematic investigation of the sealing performance of bentonite and bentonite/crushed rock plugs. American Colloid C/S granular bentonite and crushed Apache Leap tuff have been mixed to prepare samples for laboratory flow testing. Bentonite weight percent and crushed tuff gradation are the major variables studied. The sealing performance assessments include high injection pressure flow tests, polyaxial flow tests, high temperature flow tests, and piping tests. The results indicate that a composition to yield a permeability lower than 5 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} cm/s would have at least 25% bentonite by weight mixed with well-graded crushed rock. Hydraulic properties of the mixture plugs may be highly anisotropic if significant particle segregation occurs during sample installation and compaction. Temperature has no significant effect on the sealing performance within the test range from room temperature to 600{degree}C. Piping damage to the sealing performance is small if the maximum hydraulic gradient does not exceed 120 and 280 for samples with a bentonite content of 25 and 35%, respectively. The hydraulic gradients above which flow of bentonite may take place are deemed critical. Analytical work includes the introduction of bentonite occupancy percentage and water content at saturation as two major parameters for plug design. A permeability model is developed for the prediction of permeability in clays, especially in view of the difficulties in obtaining this property experimentally. A piping model is derived based on plastic flow theory. This piping model permits the estimation of critical hydraulic gradients at which flow of bentonite takes place. The model can also be used to define the maximum allowable pore diameter of a protective filter layer.
Date: July 1, 1992
Creator: Ouyang, S. & Daemen, J.J.K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bond strength of cementitious borehole plugs in welded tuff

Description: Axial loads on plugs or seals in an underground repository due to gas, water pressures and temperature changes induced subsequent to waste and plug emplacement lead to shear stresses at the plug/rock contact. Therefore, the bond between the plug and rock is a critical element for the design and effectiveness of plugs in boreholes, shafts or tunnels. This study includes a systematic investigation of the bond strength of cementitious borehole plugs in welded tuff. Analytical and numerical analysis of borehole plug-rock stress transfer mechanics is performed. The interface strength and deformation are studied as a function of Young`s modulus ratio of plug and rock, plug length and rock cylinder outside-to-inside radius ratio. The tensile stresses in and near an axially loaded plug are analyzed. The frictional interface strength of an axially loaded borehole plug, the effect of axial stress and lateral external stress, and thermal effects are also analyzed. Implications for plug design are discussed. The main conclusion is a strong recommendation to design friction plugs in shafts, drifts, tunnels or boreholes with a minimum length to diameter ratio of four. Such a geometrical design will reduce tensile stresses in the plug and in the host rock to a level which should minimize the risk of long-term deterioration caused by excessive tensile stresses. Push-out tests have been used to determine the bond strength by applying an axial load to cement plugs emplaced in boreholes in welded tuff cylinders. A total of 130 push-out tests have been performed as a function of borehole size, plug length, temperature, and degree of saturation of the host tuff. The use of four different borehole radii enables evaluation of size effects. 119 refs., 42 figs., 20 tabs.
Date: February 1, 1991
Creator: Akgun, H. & Daemen, J. J. K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laboratory testing of cement grouting of fractures in welded tuff

Description: Fractures in the rock mass surrounding a repository and its shafts, access drifts, emplacement rooms and holes, and exploratory or in-situ testing holes, may provide preferential flowpaths for the flow of groundwater or air, potentially containing radionuclides. Such cracks may have to be sealed. The likelihood that extensive or at least local grouting will be required as part of repository sealing has been noted in numerous publications addressing high level waste repository closing. The objective of this work is to determine the effectiveness of fracture sealing (grouting) in welded tuff. Experimental work includes measurement of intact and fracture permeability under various normal stresses and injection pressures. Grout is injected into the fractures. The effectiveness of grouting is evaluated in terms of grout penetration and permeability reduction, compared prior to and after grouting. Analysis of the results include the effect of normal stress, injection pressure, fracture roughness, grout rheology, grout bonding, and the radial extent of grout penetration. Laboratory experiments have been performed on seventeen tuff cylinders with three types of fractures: (1) tension induced cracks, (2) natural fractures, and (3) sawcuts. Prior to grouting, the hydraulic conductivity of the intact rock and of the fractures is measured under a range of normal stresses. The surface topography of the fracture is mapped, and the results are used to determine aperture distributions across the fractures. 72 refs., 76 figs., 25 tabs.
Date: March 1, 1991
Creator: Sharpe, C. J. & Daemen, J. J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mechanical characterization of densely welded Apache Leap tuff

Description: An empirical criterion is formulated to describe the compressive strength of the densely welded Apache Leap tuff. The criterion incorporates the effects of size, L/D ratio, loading rate and density variations. The criterion improves the correlation between the test results and the failure envelope. Uniaxial and triaxial compressive strengths, Brazilian tensile strength and elastic properties of the densely welded brown unit of the Apache Leap tuff have been determined using the ASTM standard test methods. All tuff samples are tested dry at room temperature (22 {plus_minus} 2{degrees}C), and have the core axis normal to the flow layers. The uniaxial compressive strength is 73.2 {plus_minus} 16.5 MPa. The Brazilian tensile strength is 5.12 {plus_minus} 1.2 MPa. The Young`s modulus and Poisson`s ratio are 22.6 {plus_minus} 5.7 GPa and 0.20 {plus_minus} 0.03. Smoothness and perpendicularity do not fully meet the ASTM requirements for all samples, due to the presence of voids and inclusions on the sample surfaces and the sample preparation methods. The investigations of loading rate, L/D radio and cyclic loading effects on the compressive strength and of the size effect on the tensile strength are not conclusive. The Coulomb strength criterion adequately represents the failure envelope of the tuff under confining pressures from 0 to 62 MPa. Cohesion and internal friction angle are 16 MPa and 43 degrees. The brown unit of the Apache Leap tuff is highly heterogeneous as suggested by large variations of the test results. The high intrinsic variability of the tuff is probably caused by the presence of flow layers and by nonuniform distributions of inclusions, voids and degree of welding. Similar variability of the properties has been found in publications on the Topopah Spring tuff at Yucca Mountain. 57 refs., 32 figs., 29 tabs.
Date: June 1, 1991
Creator: Fuenkajorn, K. & Daemen, J. J. K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High-resolution subsurface imaging and neural network recognition: Non-intrusive buried substance location. Final report

Description: A high-frequency, high-resolution electromagnetic (EM) imaging system has been developed for environmental geophysics surveys. Some key features of this system include: (1) rapid surveying to allow dense spatial sampling over a large area, (2) high-accuracy measurements which are used to produce a high-resolution image of the subsurface, (3) measurements which have excellent signal-to-noise ratio over a wide bandwidth (31 kHz to 32 MHz), (4) elimination of electric-field interference at high frequencies, (5) large-scale physical modeling to produce accurate theoretical responses over targets of interest in environmental geophysics surveys, (6) rapid neural network interpretation at the field site, and (7) visualization of complex structures during the survey. Four major experiments were conducted with the system: (1) Data were collected for several targets in our physical modeling facility. (2) The authors tested the system over targets buried in soil. (3) The authors conducted an extensive survey at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) Cold Test Pit (CTP). The location of the buried waste, category of waste, and thickness of the clay cap were successfully mapped. (4) The authors ran surveys over the acid pit at INEL. This was an operational survey over a hot site. The interpreted low-resistivity region correlated closely with the known extent of the acid pit.
Date: January 26, 1997
Creator: Sternberg, B.K. & Poulton, M.M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department