USE OF CEMENT GROUTING FOR THE FORMATION

OF IMPERVIOUS CURTAINS
by ing. Ulrich Hegg, Milano

Ulrich Hegg, Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015

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Design of grout curtains
There are hardly any civil engineering works which
imply a closer relationship between conceptual
engineering
and
construction
than
grouting
treatments. This, because many features of a grout
curtain can be determined only during the execution of
the latter, based on the observation of the behaviour of
the rock or soil mass following the full-scale treatment,
while, at the design stage, decisions must generally be
taken based on the information given by a few
exploratory boreholes only.

Ulrich Hegg, Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015

2

Variables
THE ROCK MASS

Ulrich Hegg, Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015

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Ulrich Hegg.Variables GROUT MIX A clear distinction must be made between the properties of the grout mix in the short term. i. and the long-term design properties. i. long term properties of the mixture have absolute priority over those which may facilitate operations. those relating to the operational phase.e.e. it may often be observed that on a construction site the long term properties of the grout mix are neglected. Unfortunately. by favouring operational properties which facilitate the injection process. those resulting after the hydration of the cement. without worrying about the final result. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 4 . There is no doubt that the final.

• the addition of silicates to prevent wash-out. depending on the weight ratio between the cement and the other components. • the addition of additives such as superplasticizers. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 5 .Variables GROUT MIX – BASICALLY A MIX OF CEMENT AND WATER Variables on which it is possible to intervene: • the type of cement. • the density of the mixture. Ulrich Hegg. in particular the water. pozzolan and filler. • its particle size. • the addition of other materials such as bentonite. namely its fineness (also expressed in terms of specific surface area according to Blaine).

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 6 .Variables THE DRILLHOLE SPACING Ulrich Hegg.

Variables Isolating and injecting a drillhole section under pressure Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 7 .

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 8 .Variables Pressure versus flow rate (not independent from each other) Ulrich Hegg.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 9 .Variables The engineering of a grout curtain requires the interplay between various actors • • • • • • Designer Field geologist Field laboratory Grouting operator Work supervision Client ( + Experts) Ulrich Hegg.

Ulrich Hegg. such as high ambient temperatures which heat up the grout lines above ground or loss of water from the grout when it penetrates the ground. Starting from a certain point . The loss of water during grouting can take place when the mix crosses microcracks in the rock mass which cannot be penetrated by the cement grains. but by the water.Variables Change of mix properties during grouting operations Both the cohesion and the viscosity increase from the time of production of the mix up to the time of hardening. being capable of generating an exponential increase of the grouting pressure and leading to a virtually immediate blockage of the grouting process. External factors may enhance this problem. The time available for the injection is thus limited and for this reason retardants are used. These products (superplasticizers) are welcome as long as they do not modify the properties of the hardened grout.namely from a lower limit of the w/c ratio internal friction forces arise between the individual cement grains in suspension. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 10 .

Variables Change of mix properties during grouting operations 1 Rock in contact (fissure closed) 2 Poor-quality grout: segregation of cement grains from water 3 Good-quality grout (main flow paths of grout) Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 11 .

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 12 .• Grain size limits of soils for different grouts Ulrich Hegg.

g. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 13 .• Rheology water and cement slurry where: 1 Newtonian liquid (e. water) 2 Bingham-type liquid dv/dx = shear velocity τ = shear stress c = cohesion η = coefficient of dynamic viscosity Ulrich Hegg.

• Pressure distribution in a fissure Fmax = (π·p3max·e2)/(12·c2) Fmax = Vmax·pmax/(3·e) Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 14 .

Marsh flow time versus w/c ratio Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 15 .

depends on: • Stress state in rock mass • Geometry of fissure pattern • Tensile strength of rock matrix • Injection parameters (applied pressures and volumes injected) • Rheological parameters of grout mix Ulrich Hegg. or the opening of new cracks. This phenomenon. called «hydrofracturing» or «claquage». Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 16 . with the absorption of significant grout mix volumes.Hydrofracturing In the course of a grouting operation an abrupt opening of preexisting discontinuities in the rock mass may occur.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 17 .• Example of hydrofracturing Ulrich Hegg.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 18 . Thus. and this depends on the rock characteristics and the needs of the grouting works.Hydrofracturing Hydrofracturing may be desired or not. on a large job such as a grout curtain of a dam. a local. one certainly wants to limit the phenomenon by defining criteria which permit to control the event. intensely fractured area can be consolidated and somehow even pre-compressed with respect to the surrounding area of sound rock. On the other hand. if the injected mixture presents adequate characteristics of resistance. this type of event leads to high grout consumption and. for example. Ulrich Hegg.

or zero flow and the volume injected into a hole section of unit length. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 19 .GIN concept The observation that there must be a simultaneous presence of a high pressure and a large volume of injected unhardened grout to cause the phenomenon of hydrofracturing led to the introduction of the concept of GROUTING INTENSITY by Lombardi and Deere. With this term one intends the product between the grouting pressure at the moment of stopping the injection . Ulrich Hegg. a curve of constant GIN presents a hyperbole. generally 1m: I = p·V/L = GIN (Grouting Intensity Number) Units are conventionally: • Pressure p in bar (kg/cm2) • Volume in litres/metre of drillhole In a graph of p versus V.

GIN–curve and typical grouting paths GIN (Grouting Intensity Number) = p·V/L. p in bar (kg/cm2) V/L in litres/metre of drillhole Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 20 .

The most immediate application of this concept consists in the tracking. during the grouting process.GIN concept The parameter GIN can be interpreted as a measure of the energy put into the rock mass. and to limit the process when reaching a pre-determined GIN value. straight fissure. after deduction of the energy spent for overcoming the resisting forces due to cohesion and viscosity of the mix. water pressure tests present a much larger risk of hydrofracturing than the grouting of stable cement mixes of the Bingham-type. Ulrich Hegg. By limiting the grouting energy (not the pressure). one reduces the risk of hydrofracturing. of the intensity value GIN reached at any instant. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 21 . For a plane. GIN is proportional to the third power of R: GIN = 2π·c·R3. The parameter GIN can also be related to the reach R of the grout (the distance travelled from the drillhole). In view of the Newtonian character of water.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 22 .• Examples of grouting records Ulrich Hegg.

A thinner joint absorbs less grout volume. but requires a higher grouting pressure.Example of grouting of a single joint Any reach (R) corresponds to a GIN value independently from the actual opening of the joints. Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 23 . R ≈ √3 GIN.

“Standard” GIN values Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 24 .

and 1500 lt/m in sandy gravel. change mix or stop grouting for a period of time.Maximum pressure /Maximum volume The maximum pressure must be related in some way to the water pressure to be expected at the spot of injection during the future life of the curtain under conditions of full reservoir. The grout must not simply flow away at low pressures. values of pmax=50bar are normally not exceeded. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 25 . It cannot be judged from the theoretical reach of the grout injection and from the «porosity» of the rock mass or soil. If this happens. possibly tightening the hole pattern in this area. or move to a next hole. A ratio of 2 to 3 in respect of this water pressure is recommended. No strict rule is applicable to the maximum volume. Ulrich Hegg. because we do not aim at getting zero permeability. In absolute terms. In absolute terms. a value of 500 lt/m of hole may be considered as a large value in rock.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 26 .End points of grouting paths for various grouting phases (example) Ulrich Hegg.

Further. Ulrich Hegg. This reflects the general experience that adequate results can be obtained from a single row using modern injection techniques. Multiple rows have been found of assistance in treating pipeable or soft beds in heavily jointed sites. to tertiary and may be quarternary holes: (a) to provide a minimal uniform coverage throughout. additional rows of holes of limited length are beneficial. The field grouting test carried out at the start of the works serves also the purpose to investigate the mesh of the drillhole pattern. (b) to adopt closer spaced holes where the geological conditions and grouting results so indicate. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 27 . The normal way of defining the location of the holes of a grout curtain follows the split-spacing method of primary to secondary. where seepage paths are shortest.Curtain lay-out Current trends worldwide are towards single row curtains. in order to safeguard against the risk of piping near the top of the grout curtain.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 28 .Example of split-spacing of holes Ulrich Hegg.

Up-stage grouting Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 29 .

Down-stage grouting Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 30 .

Grouting with tubes à manchettes (TAM) Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 31 .

Packers Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 32 .

Friction-loss calibration Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 33 .

Different design mixes (with different water/cement ratios) are generally tested at the design stage and the final choice of the mix is left to the results of the field trial which is carried out at the beginning of the works. the cement mixes proposed for grouting need preliminary tests in the laboratory which permit to propose a mix design.Grout mixes As in any work involving the casting of concrete. marked changes in the grout take. consequently. As mentioned before. following the GIN concept. but possible changes in the mix composition must be decided during execution. Ulrich Hegg. the mix employed in the formation of the grout curtain is basically one only for a given geological formation. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 34 . and changing to thicker or thinner mixes on a given borehole stage is not part of the concept. whenever local ground conditions show a marked change in the rock/soil structure and.

Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 35 . Ulrich Hegg. 40-50” for an intermediate mix.7 • cement type: CEM I 52.1 to 0.5 (Portland Fly-ash) • Marsh viscosity: < 40” for a thin mix.Grout mix composition Typical values and ranges of values for grout curtain mixes: • w/c ratio (by weight): 1 to 0. CEM II-42.2mm just after mixing • compressive strength around 10MPa at 7 days and around 15MPa at 28 days • superplasticizer: a small percentage of the cement weight (around 1 to 2%). > 50” for a thick mix • 2-h sedimentation (bleeding) < 4% • relative cohesion (c/γ): 0. according to type of product and instructions of product supplier.5 (Portland).

Ulrich Hegg. Use Lugeon water-pressure tests only in the exploratory primary holes and in the check grout holes after completion of a section of the grout curtain. in order to compare the initial and final permeabilities of the rock mass. (b) to permit final selection of hole depths for the remaining primary holes (probably a depth range of 0. Summarize the grouting results by appropriate statistical and graphical methods. as exploratory groutholes to a depth equal to the full reservoir height above ground surface: (a) to allow for better areal definition of geological and groundwater conditions. Control the grouting process by field computer using the GIN curve and by regulating the pumping rate. considering in particular the grout takes.8 of reservoir height). Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 36 .Controls during grouting works Grout every fifth primary hole first. and (c) to ensure that the selected GIN curve is appropriate. to ascertain a progressive closing of the rock fissures.5 to 0.

Lugeon in 1933. values to be reached after treatment is the one proposed by Houlsby (1985): Ulrich Hegg. A universally accepted relationship between the Lugeon-Unit and the coefficient of permeability k equates 1 L. before reservoir impounding. is the measurement of the permeability of the ground.U. A possible standard for L. In the case of rock. proposed by the Frenchman M. the most widely used standard for measuring the permeability is the Lugeon test. to 1·10-7m/s in terms of k.Standard for judging the results of the treatment The basis for judging the results of the treatment directly in the field. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 37 .U. where seepage is essentially governed by flow through open cracks. the relationship being linear.

arch dams.Standard for judging the results of the treatment Concrete dams (gravity dams. if water lost by seepage is precious: 1 to 3 1 to 3 Ulrich Hegg. Cuenca 16 de enero de 2015 38 . multiple row curtain 5 to 7 Embankment dams: narrow-core earth/rockfill single row curtain 3 to 7 multiple row curtain 5 to 10 Embankment dams: wide-core earth/rockfill or membrane faced dams single row curtain 5 to 10 multiple row curtain 7 to 15 Exceptions All types of dam.U. if foundation has material removable by seepage: single row curtain 3 multiple row curtain 4 All types of dam. buttress dams) single row curtain 3 to 5 L.