Simulation and Testing of the Grout Backfill Process in a Case-Study Related to a Nuclear Waste Disposal Gallery
The simulation of the flow of fresh grout allows predicting the filling behavior at defined conditions. Hereby, the production process can be optimized. In Mol (Belgium), a field testing site for storage of nuclear waste material has been developed in the past decades. At this location, the Economic Interest Grouping EURIDICE investigates the possibility to store containers with nuclear waste material in horizontal underground tunnels. The space between the tunnel lining and the waste containers could be filled with a cement-based grout. The aim is to create a solid body without voids that can withstand ground settlements. Since the filling process cannot be visually observed a study was carried out in order to predict the filling by simulating the fresh grout flow with computer software. The objective of the study was to determine a proper filling strategy for this project. The experiments were carried out at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. The Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group in Petten, The Netherlands, simulated the filling process with OpenFOAM, a software package that is based on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The study consisted of three parts: firstly, the rheological characteristics (thixotropy, yield value and plastic viscosity) of the fresh grout were determined, secondly, a parameter-study was carried out on the filling behavior of the grout with a scaled Plexiglas version (maximum length: 5.76 m) of the underground tunnel and finally, simulations were performed and compared to experimental results. This paper describes the case-study and experimental results, and compares the filling behavior determined from experiments and computer simulations using CFD.
KeywordsComputational Fluid Dynamics Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation Rheological Parameter Computational Fluid Dynamics Model Plastic Viscosity
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