On the measurement and application of cement grout rheological properties

Sammanfattning: The rheological properties of cement-based grouts play a key role in determining the final spread in grouted rock formations. Rheologically, cement grouts are known to be complex thixotropic fluids, but their steady flow behavior is often described by fitting the simple Bingham constitutive law to flow curve data. The resultant Bingham parameters are then used in grouting design of e.g. tunnels, to estimate the penetration length. Since cement grouts are thixotropic suspensions, the interpretation of their flow curves as obtained from flow sweeps in concentric cylinder rotational rheometers is often complicated by: the presence of wall slip, sedimentation and unstable flow at low shear rates. A systematic approach to study these effects within the constraints of the concentric cylinder geometry (Couette) and for different cement grout concentrations was carried out as part of the Licentiate research work. Of particular interest was the influence of geometry and flow sweep measurement interval on flow curves, including the characteristic unstable flow branch that appears at applied shear rates that are below the critical shear rate. The unstable flow branch observed below the critical shear rate has been described as a characteristic feature in the flow curves of thixotropic suspensions, e.g. cement grouts, laponite. From a practical standpoint, this information can then be readily used to improve rheological measurements of cement grouts. The existence of the critical shear rate below which no stable flow occurs, plus the complex wall slip phenomenon are then discussed by considering how they affect actual spread in rough and smooth rock fractures.Another major part of the research presented in this thesis relates to the measurement of model yield stress fluid (YSF), i.e. Carbopol, velocity profiles within the radial flow geometry. Radial flow between parallel plates, is an idealized fundamental flow configuration that is often used as a basis for grout spread estimation in planar rock fractures. Compared to other flow configurations with YSFs, e.g. channels, only a limited amount of work has presented analytical solutions, numerical models and especially experimental work for radial flow. Thus, as a first step towards more systematic studies of the plug flow region of YSFs in radial flow the current work presents the design, manufacture and for the first time velocity profile measurements that were conducted by using the pulsed Ultrasound Velocity Profiling (UVP) technique. The current observations for tests carried out with different disk spacings and flow rates show a distinct plug region, coupled with wall slip effects for the Carbopol model YSF fluid that was used. The theoretically predicted velocity profiles and the measured ones agree reasonably well, and the main discrepancies are discussed. Future studies, would then be targeted at improving the current experimental setup, for detailed measurements of the plug flow region along the radial length, which remains a challenging issue for studies on YSFs and engineering applications such as rock grouting design.