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Title10 m standpipe tests on oil sands tailings: Long-term experimental results and prediction
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsJeeravipoolvarn, S., Scott J. D., & Calaturnyk R. J.
Pagination13 pages
PublisherCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsgeotechnical properties, laboratory, model, modeling, tailings, U of A

Three large 10 m high standpipe tests were set up at the University of Alberta in 1982 to simulate large-scale compression behavior of oil sands tailings in a controlled environment. The objectives of the tests were to study material behavior and to provide consolidation performance for theoretical verification. Three tailings materials (fine tailings and two mixes of fine tailings and sand) were used. Test results showed that the fine tailings, standpipe 1, strained more than 30% over a 25 year monitoring period by self-weight with very little to no effective stress developing, while the mix of fine tailings and sand, standpipe 3, compressed with a significant effective stress development. The tailings in standpipe 1 can be regarded as a class of material where a reduction in volume is not governed by a unique relationship between effective stress and void ratio, whereas the tailings in standpipe 3 can be categorized as slurry with conventional behavior. To investigate the capability of the finite strain consolidation theory on these tailings, a numerical model with appropriate material constitutive relationships was developed and used to make predictions. Numerical results, compared with the performance of the standpipe tests, indicated that the theory overestimated the compression behavior of the standpipe 1 material, but it could predict the standpipe 3 consolidation behavior.

Locational Keywords

Alberta oil sands

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