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The results of a field experiment carried out in the Mines de potasse d'Alsace (MDPA, France) show that rock salt is permeable to gas and to brine, even at some distance from the underground facilities. In contrast to gas (nitrogen) flow rate, brine flow rate is interpreted in a satisfactory way using Darcy's law. On the other hand, after brine percolation into the rock mass, the effect of the capillarity pressure reduces the gas injection flow rate by one order of magnitude. During laboratory triaxial tests done under high confining pressure up to 60 MPa, non-jacketed samples (oil and brine) of MDPA salt show an earlier initiation of damage and a lower resistance to compression than jacketed samples (effects more marked when brine is used). The proposed theoretical macroscopic framework is used to show that the healing process accompanied by a viscoplastic deformation of the grain can explain the impermeability of rock salt on a geological time scale.

Additional information

Authors: COSENZA P, G 35, École Polytechnique, Palaiseau (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 17636 FR (1997) 195pp., FS, ECU 36.50
Availability: Available from the (2)
ISBN: ISBN 92-828-0602-2
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