A Computational Study of Pressure Driven Flow in Waste Rock Piles
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This thesis is motivated by problems studied as part of the Diavik Waste Rock Pile Project. Located at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, with academic support from the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, and the University of British Columbia, this project focuses on constructing mine waste rock piles and studying their physical and chemical properties and the transport processes within them. One of the main reasons for this investigation is to determine the effect of environmental factors on acid mine drainage (AMD) due to sulfide oxidation and the potential environmental impact of AMD. This research is concerned with modeling pressure driven flow through waste rock piles. Unfortunately, because of the irregular shape of the piles, very little data for fluid flow about such an obstacle exists, and the numerical techniques available to work with this domain are limited. Since this restricts the study of the mathematics behind the flow, this thesis focuses on a cylindrical domain, since flow past a solid cylinder has been subjected to many years of study. The cylindrical domain also facilitates the implementation of a pseudo-spectral method. This thesis examines a pressure driven flow through a cylinder of variable permeability subject to turbulent forcing. An equation for the steady flow of an incompressible fluid through a variable permeability porous medium is derived based on Darcy's law, and a pseudo-spectral model is designed to solve the problem. An unsteady time-dependent model for a slightly compressible fluid is then presented, and the unsteady flow through a constant permeability cylinder is examined. The steady results are compared with a finite element model on a trapezoidal domain, which provides a better depiction of a waste rock pile cross section.