Analysis and implementation of coupled THM models for soils and rocks in the numerical modelling software CODE_BRIGHT. (PI: Alfonso Rodríguez-Dono)
This study provides a general numerical approach for predicting longitudinal deformation profiles using a coupled ViscoElastic-ViscoPlastic Strain-Softening (VEVPSS) model. The proposed method is able to consider the coupling between post-failure behaviour and time-dependent behaviour, thus providing a new alternative method for preliminary tunnel design. A viscous dashpot and the strain-softening model are coupled to simulate the progressive damage process and creep failure behaviour of rock masses. The tunnel deformation based on the VEVP-SS model is larger than the corresponding elastic–plastic results due to the contribution of the creep behaviour, and the excavation rate becomes relevant when considering time-dependent behaviour.
Environmental life cycle assessment for large-scale gold mining. (PI: Alfonso Rodríguez-Dono)
Using the life cycle assessment (LCA) software SimaPro, an assessment focused on large scale gold mining by heap leaching has been made, identifying that the processes that have the worst effects on the environment resulted to be processing, mainly, and leaching in second place. Moreover, the most affected impact categories were: climate change, agricultural land occupation, water and metal depletion. On the other hand, another three different impact categories, terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecotoxicity, showed an inverse result which could be translated as a potential positive impact, however due to the inventory and data collected, the affirmation cannot be possible to sustain.
Analysis of the controlling factors of seawater intrusion (SWI) in alluvial coastal aquifers and their coupling with submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). (PI: Laura Martínez)
This investigation provides a framework for the coupled study of seawater intrusion and submarine groundwater discharge in alluvial coastal aquifers. It is based on a multidisciplinar and multiscale characterization and monitoring of an alluvial aquifer located at the mouth of a representative stream of the Maresme hydrological system.
This approach identified the aquifer hydraulic and geochemical controlling parameters and their impact on groundwater flow and more specifically, on the fate and transport of radioactive nuclides used to quantify submarine groundwater discharge. The analysis revealed the presence of a high reactive layer in the bottom of the aquifer charaterized by high U content and a huge geochemical activity in the mixing zone mainly represented by ion exchange.