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SAFE Barriers - a Systems Approach For Engineered Barriers

SAFE Barriers - a Systems Approach For Engineered Barriers

Project leader

Dr Alasdair Charles


September 2012 to March 2017




University of Strathcylde


Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) properties include properties like pH, temperature, pore water pressure, and swelling.

We are refining advanced monitoring technologies for simultaneous imaging of THMC variables. We will embed state-of-the-art micro-to-nano scale wireless devices into bentonite. We will combine these with micro-scale geophysical and magnetic monitoring surveys. These will illuminate 2D and 3D heterogeneities in THMC behaviour.

We will integrate these monitoring technologies into laboratory experiments. This will provide an understanding of the THMC evolution of clay-based engineered barriers and their interfaces. We will do this to the upper-bound of realistic environmental conditions. Interfaces will comprise joints within the clay as well as interfaces to the surrounding rock, cement and waste container.

We will focus our experiments on the effects of strong gradients in temperature (<150 degrees C), low pH cements and high salinity (10-40 g/l). We will do this across the EBS interfaces. Fingering of flow occurs along joints and interfaces. This may give rise to a heterogeneous THMC system response. We will also investigate this.