Infoscience

Journal article

Thermo-hydro-mechanical simulation of ATLAS in-situ large scale test in Boom Clay

Following the need for understanding and quantifying the effect of temperature on the response of a candidate host formation for radioactive waste disposal, finite element modelling of an in-situ thermal experiment has been carried out. Based on a thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) finite element approach including a consistent thermo-plastic constitutive model, it has been possible to reproduce the THM response of a clay formation submitted to in-situ thermal loading. The simulated large-scale experiment, called ATLAS was designed in the underground research facility (HADES-URF) in Mol, Belgium. After an extensive literature analysis on the thermal, hydraulic and mechanical characteristics of Boom Clay, laboratory tests were simulated to calibrate model parameters. The results of the finite element modelling of the ATLAS experiment were compared with in-situ measurements and revealed the necessity to account for flow diffusion in all three directions through a 2D axisymmetric analysis. Finally, those results were interpreted in the light of elasto-thermoplasticity, which emphasizes the significant role of thermo-plastic processes in the global THM response of the clay formation

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