Laboratory Column Experiments (FORGE) - Characterisation of Host Rocks

Characterisation of 2-phase flow properties of host rocks

During the EU project NF-Pro (www.nf-pro.org), an experiment chamber was developed to control and monitor air temperature and humidity as well as the mass of a rock overcore (Fig. 1). Additionally, the cores were equipped with self made single-rod TDR (time domain reflectometry) probes.
 
Photographs of a granite overcore from GTS (a) and an Opalinus clay overcore from Mont Terri URL (b) standing on a balance inside the drying chamber at GTS
 Figure 1: Photographs of a granite overcore from GTS (a) and an Opalinus clay overcore from Mont Terri URL (b) standing on a balance inside the drying chamber at GTS.
 
The drying chamber is used for two purposes (Fig. 2):
 
1) to monitor the desaturation of large overcores (e.g. granite matrix, fractured granite or Opalinus clay) under controlled humidity conditions. This provides insight into 2-phase flow properties for host rock specimens that are much larger than the common core samples and thus much more representative. As a consequence, the test duration usually is much longer. For example, a test with an Opalinus clay sample from the Mont Terri rock laboratory is running since August 2007 (Fig. 1/b).
 
2) to calibrate TDR probes developed at Nagra and to further develop interpretation techniques for their data records.
 
Schematic picture of drying chamber and data acquisition system
Figure 2: Schematic picture of drying chamber and data acquisition

Laboratory Column Experiments (FORGE)

The GTS underground facilities are also available to interested 3rd parties for underground testing and research. The GTS offers cost-effective access to a fully developed, well characterised underground research facility with round the year logistical support - please contact Dr. Ingo Blechschmidt, Head of the Grimsel Test Site, for further details.
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