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Effect of material variability and compacted layers on transfer processes in heterogeneous waste rock piles.


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Lahmira, Belkacem, Lefebvre, René, Aubertin, Michel et Bussière, Bruno (2017). Effect of material variability and compacted layers on transfer processes in heterogeneous waste rock piles. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology , vol. 204 . p. 66-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.07.004.

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The heterogeneity of waste rock piles is due to the wide and variable grain size distribution of waste rock and construction methods leading to complex internal structures. The general objective of this work was to better understand the effect of such heterogeneity on the coupled transfer processes acting within waste rock piles producing Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). For this purpose, parametric numerical simulations were conducted with the TOUGH AMD numerical simulator, considering 1) three random spatial distributions of the same material properties to assess the resulting behavior, 2) four ranges of material properties with the same spatial distribution to evaluate the effect of the degree of heterogeneity, and 3) the effect of compacted layers due to circulation of heavy equipment during construction. Results show that fine-grained (denser with lower permeability) material present near the boundary of a pile can limit air entry. Coarse materials promote preferential flow of gas and water vapor. Fine-grained materials beneath the pile surface favor the internal condensation of water vapor and thus minimize water loss. The initiation of secondary gas convection cells requires a minimal degree of heterogeneity, which is closely related to the range of permeability between the coarse and the finer material ratio (k(coarse)/k(fine)). The presence of coarse grained material in the pile does not necessarily lead to more convection and higher AMD production. The magnitude of convection rather depends on the amount of fine-grained material and its distribution in the pile. Results also show that low-permeability compacted layers strongly limit convection. Results thus support waste rock pile construction methods integrating fine-grained materials or compacted layers to minimize AMD production.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: waste rock; acid mine drainage; multiphase fluid flow; preferential flow; heterogeneity; anisotropy
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 16 févr. 2018 22:19
Dernière modification: 19 juill. 2019 04:00
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/6331

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