Reactive transport modelling of a high-pH infiltration test in concrete
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A laboratory-scale tracer test was carried out to characterize the transport properties of concrete from the Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility at El Cabril (Spain). A hyperalkaline solution (K-Ca-OH, pH = 13.2) was injected into a concrete sample under a high entry pressure in order to perform the experiment within a reasonable time span, obtaining a decrease of permeability by a factor of 1000. The concentrations of the tracers, major elements (Ca2+, SO42-, K+ and Na+) and pH were measured at the outlet of the concrete sample. A reactive transport model was built based on a double porosity conceptual model, which considers diffusion between a mobile zone, where water can flow, and an immobile zone without any advective transport. The numerical model assumed that all reactions took place in the immobile zone. The cement paste consists of C-S-H gel, portlandite, ettringite, calcite and gypsum, together with residual alite and belite. Two different models were compared, one with portlandite in equilibrium (high initial surface area) and another one with portlandite reaction controlled by kinetics (low initial surface area). Overall the results show dissolution of alite, belite, gypsum, quartz, C-S-H gel and ettringite and precipitation of portlandite and calcite. Permeability could have decreased due to mineral precipitation.
CitationChaparro, M., Soler, J., Saaltink, M., Mäder, U. Reactive transport modelling of a high-pH infiltration test in concrete. "Physics and chemistry of the Earth", Juny 2017, vol. 99, p. 131-141.