Transport-controlled dissolution in underground cavities: An experimental validation of the extended graetz solution

W. Li, M. Opolot, R. L. Sousa, H. H. Einstein

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The dissolution of rocks in underground flow paths is transport-controlled if their dissolution rates are relatively high, while the dissolution is reaction-controlled if their dissolution rates are relatively low. Transport-controlled dissolution is a common process in the formation of gypsum karst and oil reservoir acid stimulations. As an initial step to understand groundwater flow and dissolution in fractures and in wormholes, pipe flow is used as a simplified representation of groundwater flow. The extended Graetz solution was developed by Li and Einstein, 2017 to simulate the transport-controlled dissolution process when water flows through a tube in gypsum. This model can predict both the effluent concentration and the evolving geometry of the tube during the dissolution process. This paper focuses on the experimental validation of this model. An effluent chemistry monitoring system (ECMS) was developed and integrated in the triaxial system at MIT. Flow tests were conducted with cast gypsum tubes in this triaxial system. The experimental results of the effluent chemistry and tube geometries confirmed the validity of the extended Graetz solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Event52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2018Jun 20 2018


Conference52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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