• Qingrong Xiong

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis presents an investigation of reactive transport of species in porous media, with the aim to understand better and predict the fate of radionuclide in engineered and natural barriers of future deep geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste. The work involves developments of several pore-scale models for simulating reactive transport by coupling convective, adsorptive and diffusive processes.Pore network models (PNM) are amongst the appealing approaches that provide a suitable description for dealing with mutable pore space structures. Such models have been used to describe conservative as well as reactive transport in saturated [1] and unsaturated porous media [2, 3]. In the present thesis, pore network models based on a regular tessellation of truncated octahedral cells are proposed and developed to simulate mass transport in porous media with incomplete pore space information due to limitation of existing characterisation techniques. Bentonite and Opalinus Clay are selected to illustrate the methodology. The micro- and meso-structure of these clays and their effects on the transport behaviour are investigated. The research shows that the clays are anisotropic and heterogeneous with fast diffusion parallel to the bedding plane and slow diffusion perpendicular to the bedding plane. In addition, different types of species have different accessible porosity and macroscopic diffusion coefficients. The anisotropy and heterogeneity of clays are achieved by different length scales and percentage of pores in different directions in the pore network models. The transport behaviour of various species, including sorption and anion exclusion, is simulated and analyzed. The effect of sorption is simulated via changing the pore radii by a coarse grained mathematical formula or by a formula directly in each pore. The results are in good agreement with experimentally measured macroscopic (bulk) diffusivities for the materials studied, including anisotropic diffusion coefficients. This lends strong support to the physical realism of the proposed models.The developed methodology can be used for any micro and meso-porous material with known distribution of pore sizes. It can be extended to other pore space changing mechanisms, in addition to sorption, to derive mechanism-based evolution laws for the transport parameters of porous media
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrey Jivkov (Supervisor) & Ahmad Syed Mohd Syed (Supervisor)


  • diffusion-adsorption-convection simulation
  • multiscale
  • pore network model
  • clay with limited resolution

Cite this