Influence of evaporation and seepage on the convergence of a ventilated cavity

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Abstract

[1] In the design of nuclear waste disposals, an important topic concerns the development of an excavated damage zone, where permeability increases. A correct numerical prediction of the coupled processes occurring during excavation is therefore needed. In this paper, a nonclassical hydraulic boundary condition is described. It mixes two modes of water exchanges in partial saturation: seepage and evaporation flows. Seepage flow avoids unphysical water inflow into the rock mass, which might be obtained with usual boundary condition in dilatant geomaterial. Evaporation flows enable the thermodynamical equilibrium between air relative humidity in the cavity and in the rock mass. The numerical modeling of a cavity excavation in dilatant geomaterial is carried out. The results show the influence of the hydraulic boundary condition on the convergence of the cavity. Depending on the value of the transfer coefficient, the proposed numerical model can recover the results obtained with an imposed atmospheric pressure or suction at the cavity wall. The determination of the mass transfer coefficient is thus needed and can be achieved through drying experiments or can be estimated thanks to in situ measurements.

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