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A Mathematical Model of Gas and Water Flow in a Swelling Geomaterial—Part 1. Verification with Analytical Solution
Open AccessArticle

A Mathematical Model of Gas and Water Flow in a Swelling Geomaterial—Part 2. Process Simulation

1
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9, Canada
2
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10010032
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 29 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Waste Disposal)
Gases can potentially generate in a deep geological repository (DGR) for the long-term containment of radioactive waste. Natural and engineered barriers provide containment of the waste by mitigating contaminant migration. However, if gas pressures exceed the mechanical strength of these barriers, preferential flow pathways for both the gases and the porewater could form, providing a source of potential exposure to people and the environment. Expansive soils, such as bentonite-based materials, are widely considered as sealing materials. Understanding the long-term performance of these seals as barriers against gas migration is an important component in the design and the long-term safety assessment of a DGR. This study proposes a hydro-mechanical mathematical model for migration of gas through a low-permeable swelling geomaterial based on the theoretical framework of poromechanics. Using the finite element method, the model is used to simulate 1D flow through a confined cylindrical sample of near-saturated low-permeable soil under a constant volume boundary stress condition. The study expands upon previous work by the authors by assessing the influence of heterogeneity, the Klinkenberg “slip flow” effect, and a swelling stress on flow behavior. Based on the results, this study provides fundamental insight into a number of factors that may influence two-phase flow. View Full-Text
Keywords: THMC modelling; multi-phase flow; gas migration; nuclear waste disposal; bentonite; expansive soils; swelling soils; swelling geomaterials THMC modelling; multi-phase flow; gas migration; nuclear waste disposal; bentonite; expansive soils; swelling soils; swelling geomaterials
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Dagher, E.E.; Infante Sedano, J.Á.; Nguyen, T.S. A Mathematical Model of Gas and Water Flow in a Swelling Geomaterial—Part 2. Process Simulation. Minerals 2020, 10, 32.

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