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Data for: Effective diffusivity prediction of radionuclides in clay formations using an integrated upscaling workflow

Yuan, Tao; Fischer, Cornelius

The effective diffusivity is a key parameter in the diffusive transport calculations, thus decisive for predicting the radionuclide migration in low-permeable clay-rich formations. Potential host rocks such as the Opalinus clay exhibit pore network heterogeneities, critically modified due to compositional variability in the sandy facies and owing to diagenetic minerals. Meaningful estimation of the effective diffusivity requires an understanding of transport mechanisms at the nanometer-scale as a starting point and a combination with upscaling strategies for considering compositional heterogeneities at the micrometer-scale.

In this study, we propose an upscaling workflow that integrates transport simulations at both the nanometer-scale and the micrometer-scale to predict the effective diffusivities of radionuclides in the sandy facies of the Opalinus clay. The respective synthetic digital rocks provide conceptually two types of materials at the pore scale, in which the pore space and pore network in the clay matrix at the nanometer scale and mineral complexity in shales at the micrometer scale are considered. The numerical approach using the introduced digital rocks is validated with published experimental data that confirm the general applicability of the models. Sensitivity studies reveal the increase of effective diffusivity of shales as a function of increased pore space, reduced tortuosity, and an increased sheet silicate concentration compared to other rock components. Thus, such spatial variabilities at the pore scale of more complex sedimentary rocks are now addressed in the proposed approach and available for studying heterogeneous diffusion patterns compared to commonly assumed homogeneous behavior. Finally, and as a starting point for further upscaling strategies, we investigate anisotropic diffusion by studying the effect of lamination of the shales towards enhanced predictability of radionuclide migration.

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